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<SAe is ibi/rs, Master.*" 



SICK at heart the tremblini?(rirl shuddered at the words that 
delivered her td this terrible fate of the East. How could 
she escape from this Oriental monster into whose hands she 
had been given — this mysteriuus man of mighty power whose 
face none had yet seen ? 

Here is an eTtraortliimry fit iiatinii. V\'li:a \v;is tn be the fate ol thii 
beautiful girl? Who was this strange emissary whum no one really kuenf 

To know the answer to this and the most exciting 
tales of Oriental adventure and mystery ever told, 
read on through thetfhost thrilling, absorbing^ 
entertaining and fascinating pages ever written. * 



Masterpieces of Oriental Mystery 

11 Superb Volumes by SAX ROHMER 
Written with his uncanny knowledge of things Oriental 



ZJEKE you arc offnrcd no ordinary juyslrry sto- 
M M rica. In,thcscl>ook3tlic hidden secrets, niystfrii*.-* 
and Intrijftios of tho Orient fairly Imp from thu panes. 

S'oro your very eyes spreads 3 swiftly moving pano> 
ramatliat takes you nreathlcss from (ho Iukm places 
of Hoeiety — from homed of refinement and luxurj to 
in siiii-sirr underworlds of London and- iho Fur Rast 

| *av — from 1'lrradllly and Hfoadway ti> Inrredihlu 

1/ scenes behind Idol temples in far o(T China- 1 — 

Atpfc^ to tlin Juncles of Malay, alontf strange pat lis 
y 54 _ to ibo very scat of flindu sorveo'- 

" 2 oii*r ^. U Volume. Packed with Thrill. 

*^^tSm*V/ 0° tho first Jn! your community to 
^JiVc own these. 1 1 id most wonderful Ori- 
*v_ _ ^ onial mystery stories ever publish- 
caanf«$) wf Iww tkii that havo sold by Iho 



i*t juur 




— ltonks you will enjoy readme fiver and over ntmln. ITand- 
etomely Uniiid in subataiuial eluthcnvers, a proud aili»m , 
merit for your table or shelf. These aro the soi l or storii* 
that President Wilson. Roosevelt and ol lnr p i ;n men trail 
tohelpthotn relax — to forget t heir burdens. To mthI tin-* 
absorbing Mies »>r tlie inyMerioU't Kasl is toe. 
worries into oblivion — to increase > our elllcienej . 
Priced for Quick Sale 

Prltirinc ttirm vntumrs by the hundred th'iu-^iirl vlii-n piner vm 
cheap iiukc-i chit low |incc pu.-olblc. Only i* limit til nuiiibta" left. 
Uui't ItiiC a mi mat! 

Complete Sett Free on Approval 

Ynj ncr*lo't srn<V:i rent. Hituply tn^ll Nierou|H>ti :inrl ihl* omtitof 
set will coin y>u liniiinliilelj . :itl rliurvrs repaid. II 11 lolls lo dt> 
IlnU yuu. rut urn It lu lilt iIjj s at our cM-ciisc. 



paid, your wt o? 



undml thousand 
tmiiclihlgli- 
pricos 



«n«r 10 dam, I oju detlcbt- *£» 
ed. I will MDdSl.— 
jy &od 01. un a mi _ 
H months: when you receive my 

ire to send me * ^t. 

ItboutMtmcuit, 

Otherwise. I will return th© m* In lo X 
day* bi y«"ire\peasc, tiiecxMiiliLuiuu to -y, 
I ctibLaifltiutbiu^ 



^PREMIUM-YOURS^cZ" 1 ! 

s 

This f.vnom Curkha Kukri nf luilld bra**, fik" lone, lau 
" tiy trtc IPnilii Miltllers In tlic WorU 

, ..,„ , .,,>rnbMl liy klMlliu: In lili>tirTlcig*iaT 

'Tlie Dnims of tlic lore ami Aft .'" llxqiiL-lioly wrought ontwei 
;|t1<-4 tn an andivit syriitmlical il<^l:n. A rurc curio t« liaveu 

gualr 

tily mi liainl <*UIt»r " 
wllrniiit tulflcd Ci>4l 
tiremuim fur promplDM 
- liul you nn^t Ml lodar' 



| A3*-* i 




( V 

, h ou cash deduct k « McKinlay.Stone & Mac! 



enzies.w T«k, n~ w 



Just ATwist Of The Wrist 

Banishes Old-Style Can Openers to the Scrap Heap and 



BRINGS AGENTS $5 

T'OMEN universally detest the old-style can opener. 
Yet in every borne in the land cans are being 
it. often several times a day. Imagine how 
icy welcome this method — this automatic 

C their moot distasteful job. With the Speedo 
machine you can just put the can in the 
i the handle, and almost instantly the job 



This Waste and Danger 




June II. BO RDeedos: 
Jun« SO. hi 8t»«lM; 
tm 30, lBi Speedo*; 
Mr I. 288 apeedos. 
ftMfe sells to 9 out of 
it prospect*." 

M. Ornoff, Vs. 
PART TIME 
W Sale* Id 2 Hours 
I- I. Corwln. Alii.. 
"Send more ordar 
I "old ftrtt 14 




hat * nasty, dangerous Job It is 
-fashioned can opener. You have 
slowly— rip ping a jagged furrow 
•round the edge. Next thing 
you know, the ca n opener 
slips. Good night I You've 
torn a hole In your Anger, As 
liable as not It will get in- 
rfected and stay sore a long 
j time. Perhaps even your life 
i will be endangered from 
' blood poisoning I 
You may be lucky enough to 
get the can open wit hout cut- 
ins yourself. Bat there's still 
the fact to consider thai the 
ragged edge of tin left 
around the top makes H al- 
most] Impossible to pour out 
all of\thc food. Yet now, all 
this trouble, waste and dan- 
gt-r la. ended. No wonder 
salesmen everywhere are find- 
ing thl\ Invention a truly 
-revolutionary money maker I 

New "Million 
Dollar" Can 
Opextmg Machine 

The Speedo holds the can- 
opens it — Alps up the Lid so 
you can grab h — and give* 
you hack the can without' a 
drop spilled, without any 
rough edges to snag your fln- 



to SIX IN AN HOUR 

gert— all In a couple of seconds I It's so easy 
y far -old child can do it In perfect safety! 



women — and men, too— simply ^ 
der Speedo salesmen often sell C 
and make up to $10 an hour. 



No . 
wild over HI No won- 
every house in the block 



Genertfus Free Test Offer 

Frankly, men, I realize that the profit possibilities of 4hlf 
proposition as outlined briefly h«re may seem almost in- 
credible to you. So I've worked out a plan by which youj 
can examine the invention and test its profits without 
risking one penny. 



Get my free 
still open— I 
I'll send you 
In -week, 
that br 



Osta 



while the territory you want la 
iiu ii ior you while you make the- ten. 
he facts about others making 875 to 91(0 
also tell you about another fast-selling 
you two profits on every call. All yon 
tip — so grab your pencil and shoot me 
uic coupon right now. , 

CENTRAL STATES MFG. CO., DepL B-240S 

4500 Mary At.. (E.t. over 20 year,) St. LouJa, Mo. 



is 



I C.alr.1 Si.la, Mfa- Co. 
j 41*0 M.rr A™, D.,1. B-J40S 
J St. Uuli, Mo. 



I Yea. r\i»! 
j OFFER. 

I N»m< 
I 

j Address 

I City 

J*t ] Chr-ck here if 



and details of your FREE 



State 

interested only In one for your home. 

wenng- advertisrrnents 



mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when ans 




mm® 

On Sale the\ First Thursday of Each Month 



W. M. CLAYTON, 



HAUI RATES, Urine 



OOUCUS M. DOLD. CeaanhJaa; Edllea 



fThe Clayton Standard on a Magazine Guarantees: 
TAaJ taa siariaa therein era tbu, liUMlag, »rrld | by I— Am0 writsn of Ik* day ud ^ 
i h mill aaaec frandllieae approved by lb* Aalhen' Laaane af Aaiariaai 
Taa* eaah ■ ■jaalanr are nunafeatnred la Dale* ahep* br Aaarlns — rbaiaii 
Teal aacb eewpdeajar and aeaal I* Innniad • fair praili 
Thmi an lalaQajaal iiaiirihlp anerae ibalr ■ eaVerualBR pagai 
Taa aiaer CJayfaa majaelaei eref 
ACE.H1GH 'MAGAZINE, RANCH * HOMANCES, CO* BOY STORIES, CLUES. FIVE.N0VEL3 
MONTHLY, VIDE world adventures, all stab detective stobies, flyers. 
RANCELAND LOVE STORY MAGAZINE, SKY.MCH LIBRARY MAGAZINE, 
MISS 1930, mmj FOREST AND STREAM 

Mart Than Two Million Copies Required to Supply she Monthly Demand for Clayton Mataalues. 

' i j - 



FEBRUARY, 19M 



153 



vol. i, no. 2 CONTENTS 

COVER DESIGN ' H. W. WBSSOLOWSKI 

Painted m Water-colors from a Scene in "Spawn of the Stars." 

OLD CROMPTONS SECRET. * HARL VINCENT 

Tom's Extraordinary Mackine Glowed — amd Ike Years Wtrt Banished from Old Cramp- 
ton's Body. Bnl Tkera Still Remained. Deep-stated in His Century-old Mind, the 
Memory of "His Crime, 

SPAWN QF THE STARS \ CHARLBS WILLARD DIFPIN 

Tke Bartk Lay Powerless Beneath Tkolt Lttthsomt, Yellowish Monsters That, Sheathed 
in Cometlihe Globe* Sprout from the Shies to Annihilate Man and Rednee His Cities 
to Ashes. 

THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING HUGH B. CAVE 

/■ the Gloomy Depths of the Old Warehouse Dolt Saw a Thlnf That Drew a Scream of 
Horror to His Dry Lips. It Was a Corpse— the Mold of Decay on Its Loaf. dead ' 
Features end Yet It Was Aline! « ' 

CREATURES OF THE LIGHT SOPHIE WENZBL BLLIS 

He Had Striven to Perfect the Faultless Man of the Future, and Had Succeeded— Tot 
Veil. For m the Pitilessly Cold Byes of Adam, His Super-human Creation, Dr, 
Muudson Saw Only Contempt— and Annihilation— for tht Human Ract. 

INTO SPACE N STERNER ST. PAUL 

What Was tht Bxtraordinary Connection Between Dr. Linermore's Sudden Disappearance 
and the Constat of a New Satellite to the Bartht 

THE BEETLE HORDB VICTOR ROUSSEAU 

Bullets. Shrapnel, Shell— Nothing Can Stop the Trillions of Famished, Man-sited Beetles 
Which. Ltd by a Madniau, Sweep Down Oner she Human Race. 

MAD MUSIC ANTHONY PBLCHBR 

Tht Sixty Stories of the Perfectly Constructed Colossus Buildint Had Mysteriously 
Crashed! What Was the Connection Between This Catastrophe and tht Weird 
Strains of the Mad Musician's ViolluT 

THE THIEF OF TIME CAPTAIN S. P. MEEK 

The Teller Turned to the packed Pile, of Bills. They Were Gout! And No Out Had' 
Been Ntarl 



let 



167 



19* 



221 



2» 



248 



Cull 



Stack Copiaa, 20 CanU (In Canada, 28 Centa) Yearly SubjcrhtioB, $2.00 

larard mqnthty by PobUabrn' Fleeal Corporation. BO Lafayette St.. 
anal ; Hainan GoldmajiD. Secretary. jAppllentlon for entry aa teooi _ 

Mav York, loader Act of March I. Application for rerlatratkm of title aa Trade Mark pending In tat 

D. S. Patent Offlee. Member Newaatknd Group— Men'a List. For adycrtbnnn- ratea nd dre an B. B. Oenva a Qx. 
tsm-. V Vhnderbllt Aye.. New York : i tt> North MIchLjnn Aye, ChJcaaa, 



York. N. Y. W. V. Clayton. Preel. 
Pennine; at tke Peat ObVm i 



Half a Million People 

have learned music this easy way 





Ton, too, Can Learn to Play 
Tour Fsvorite Instrument 
Without a Teacher 



Easy as A'Jb'C 




YES, half a million. delighted men and women 
all over the world have learned music this 
quick, easy way. 

Half a million— 500,000 — what a gigantic or- 
chestra they- would make! ' Some arc playing on 
tfae stage, others in orchestras, and many thou- 
sands are daily enjoying the pleasure and popu- 
larity of being able to play some instrument. 

Surely this is convincing proof of the success 
of the new, modern method perfected by the 
U. S. School of Music 1 And what these people 
have done, YOU, too, can dot 

Many of this half million didn't know one note 
froth another — others had never touched an in- 
strument—yet in half the usual time they learned 
to play their favorite instrument. Best of all, they 
found learning music amazingly easy. No monot- 
onous hours of exercises — no tedious scales — no 
expensive teachers. This simplified method made 
learning music as easy as A-B-Cl 

It It like a fascinating' tame. From the very Hart 
you axe playing* real tuna, perfectly, by note. Yon simply 
can't go wrong, for every step, from beginning* to end, 
U right before your eyea In 
print and picture. First you 
are Void bow to do a thing, 
then a picture show* you 
bow, then you do It yourself 
ir It And almost be- 



wiat ramunirr 
roi Tour 



Visas 

E* 

Imt 



D»l sis 
Trsss 

Sisal ajatfas 



(Pt«srr«M l-Strlsi 



Wm sas tfSBcb CaHai 
■rait *mi Cw-mHm 



fore yon know It, 
playing your favorlt 



yoo arc 
trite pieces 
— Jan. ballads, classics. No 
private teacher could make 
it v clearer. Little theory- 
plenty of* accomplishment. 
That's why students of tbe 
U. 9. School of Music get 
abend twice as fast — tare* 
time* as fast as those who 
study old-fashioned, plodding 
methods. 



You don't need any special "talent.'* Many of the 
half-million who have already become accomplished 
players ne-ajr dreamed they possessed munlcal ability. 
They only wanted to play some Instrument — jast like 
yon — and they found they could quickly learn how 
this easy way. Just a little of your spare time each 
day Is need A— ana you enjoy every minute of h. The 
cost Is surprisingly low — averaging only a few cents a 
day — and the price Is the same for whatever Instrument 
you choose, AnV remember, you are studying right In 
your own borne — artthout paying big feat to private 
teachers. * 

Don't mils any more good times 1 Learn now to 
play your favorite Instrument and surprise all your 
friends. Change from a wallflower to the cents of 
attraction. Music Is the best thing to offer at a party — 
musicians are invited everywhere. Enjoy the popularity-' 
you have been missing. Gat your share of the must* 
clan's pleasure and* profit ! Start now I 

Free Booklet an.fl DaanousUaUoa Laasoa 

If you ate In earnest about wanting, to Jem the 
crowd of entertainers and be a "blr bit" at any party— 
If you really do want to play youo favorite Instrument, 
to become a performer whose services will be In de- 
mand — All out and mall /the convenient coupon — Vlng 
for our Free Booklet apd Free Demonstration Lesson. 
These explain our wonderful method folly and show yon 
how easily and quickly you can learn to play st little 
expense. This booklet will also tell you all about the 
amazing new Automatic Finoor Control, Instruments ars 
supplied when needed — cash or credit, U. S. School of 
Music. 9662 Brunswick Blag.. New York pity. 

U. g. gCHOOL OF HUaiC. • 
Stn Brsnrwfet Bids., New Ysrk CHy. 

Pirate and me roar fret book, "stock: Ti— nn In Tear Own 
Home " villi Intranrtkn by Dr. Frank Crane. Frer DemonsUv.- 
tlan la— on. tod pankvUr* of your sir payment plan. 1 an 
uuarattad In the follovLni "couth: 



Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 



Only 18 years did and 
earning $15,000 a year 






Works im Shoo Factory 
W. T. Cinoo was farced lo leave 
school at, an early age. His help 
wu needed at home. He took a 
**Job** fn a shoo farfofy Is Hooting- 

ton, W. Vs., al 912 ■ nek. 



Starts Siwdyimg at Horn* 

Canon determined lo make some- 
thing of himself before it wu too 
laic, u> he look up 4 couth with 
the International Correapaodenco 



Now Owns Big Bustmass 

Today W. T. Canon b the owner 
of one of the tasfot bail try set* 
■via stallou In West Virginia, with, 
an Income of $15,000 a year. And 
be ii only 21 yean oldl 




Ltcturos at CoUtga 
Just a few month* ago a large 
college asked Canon to led tor be- 
fore a clam In ekctrtdly. That 
sbowt the^ practical valuo of bJa 



Bow to Barm Mora Momty 

If the I. C S. can smooth the path 
to success for men like W. T. 
Canon It can help yon. If ft can 
help other men to earn more money 
It can beip yon too. 



Tha Boss h Wattbtmg Torn 

&ow him yon an ambitious and 
are really trying to got ahead. De- 
cide today thai yon are at least 
■Dug ■ to find out all about the 
ICS. and what It can do for yoa. 



ItaUMATIOHAL CORROPOMDiBOt SCHOOLS, ■*■ 1114-1 ■■Una Pecan. 

ant m phUaaUon. plea* and jut a espy Jfusw tnoalat, "Was WIm aed Way. n and fan, par- 

Ueolan abort la* easne ee/or* which I tu*a ourkad rFUu Urt below: \ 




lUIIHOI TRAIN IRS 0OURSES 

CoowmtaiH niaall Carrlat 
d aod Bin Lctlfrtiei , Onda Beam] 8 — lw . 

phy ,1M * typing . BUah ff"*T) l SnbjMU 

! Caruvaina 

. SarrUe . IlluitnUns 

Iway atall den QLumbar Dealst 
Ml OA I AMD INDUSTRIAL COURSE! 

~AfiBtlon aWeea 
aadBleani 



3Fbai 



foreman Pinter 
Baallne and YeatllaUac 
k qMrt-MMal Worker 
, tlaaai Baiitaaw 
Ifariet Enalnatr 
las aad laapplnf . ftafrlemilon B 
Kailiwvr B. RTVWlilon 



. NbtUsUoo 
, aaaayw 

, Una and I ...... 

. fnllk Orttwr or BttpL 
, Cotton alaDefacturlaw 
. WaXm Hans" J ' 
AarleaUnra 



Orewiac 
rr yaimlaj, 
■aaUo QB 



Please mcption Newsstand Gboup — Men's List, when answering advertisements 



S.ET RCA INSTITUTES START 
YOU OBT THE ROAD TO ... . 

Success ™radio 




Radio needs you . . . That's why the entire 
Radio industry 1a calling for trained men. 
Radio is thrilling work <■ . . ca$y* hours, 
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world. Manufacturers and broadcasting 
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» j. w i . trained RCA Institutes men. ** 
o^d In/pJcTol Millions of tea need servicing . . . 
$1800 to- $4000 thousands of ships require expert* 
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RCA sets the standards for the 
entire Radio industry . . . The 
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can obtain a thorough; practical 
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You learn Radio by actual experi- 
ence with the remarkable outlay 
of apparatus given to every stu- 
dent. That's why every graduate of 



Station 
OfreratorJISOO 
SB*40ap«Ycar. 



For die added anrenfence of iro- 
denu who p re fer a Resident Study 
Coune, RCA Institute*, Inc., hat 
established Resident Schools In the 
following diicat 

New York .... 316 Broadway 
Botcon, Mau. • ■ 899 Boylitoo St. 
Philadelphia, Pa. . J 211 Chestnut St. 
Baltimore'. M<L . 1215N.CharlcsSt. 
Newark, N.J. . . . 5*0 Broad Si. 
Home Study graduates mar at- 
tend any one of our resident schools 
for poar-naduatc Instruction at no 
extra charge. 



RCA Institutes has the e z pen enoft» 
the ability and the confidence to 
hold a big-money Radio job* 

: Qradumes of RCA Institutes Find 
It Easter to Qet Qood Job* 
Students of RCA Institutes get 
first-hand knowledge, get it quick* 
Iy and get tt complete. Success in 
Radio depends upon training and 
that's the training you get with " 

' RCA Institutes. That's why every 
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Study Radio at the Oldest and 
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Send for this Free Book . . . 
or step In at any of our resident 
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thousands of men arc already on 
the road to success in Radio. 
Remember that you, too, can 
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man who trains today will hold 
down the big-money Radio job 
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this free book or send for it oy 
mail. Everything you want to 
know about Radio. -40 fascinating 
pages, packed with pictures and 
descriptions of the brilliant op- 
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wide money- making profession. 

SBKB Ft) at IT TMAYI 



Clip this Coup on NOW! 



RCA INSTITUTES, INC. 



Stadlo Inatlmu of Aaatrien 



RCA INSTITUTES, Inc. 
Dept. NS-2, 316 Broadway, 
New York, N. Y. 

Gentlemen) Please send me your FREE 40-pase boolpw h lch 
illustrates the brilliant opportunities' In Radio and describes 
your laboratory-method of Instruction it home I 

Name 

Addreri 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



"INTO THE 
AFRICAN BLUE" 

High Spots in the Life of a Big Game Photographer 
f By MARTIN JOHNSON 

"Into the African Blue** 

is Africa — the land of ro- 
mance — of adventure. 

African big game is rap- 
idly 'being shot off; the 
end is in sight, and it is 
for the purpose of record- 
ing in pictures and in story 
the remarkable wild life 
-which soon must vanish, 
that Martin and Osa John- 
son undertake their safaris 
into the remotest corners 
of the "Blue." 

Johnson's photographs 
are magnificent! They por- 
tray the primitive drama 
of the wilderness. AVc see 
close-ups of elephants and 
giraffes suckling their 
young; lions lolling in the 
broiling sun or disputing 
possession of a zebra kill 
We arc introduced into 
the inner family circle" of 
rhinos, leopards, eland, 
oryx, gazelle and others- 
all unconscious of the 
nearby presence of man. And there arc. of course, thrilling moments when a cantanker- 
ous rhino, elephant or lion resents the intrusion and charges the camera with deadly intent 

This thrilling serial, profusely illustrated with photographs by the author, began in the Decem- 
ber issue of FOREST and STREAM. Follow Martin and Osa Johnson through the Soudan, the 
Congo, Kenya and Tanganyika; share their adventures — 

SPECIAL OFFER 

In 'addition, to this thrilling serial, which in hook form 
would cost not less than $3.00, the next six issues of 
FOREST and STREAM will contain much of interest 
to the outdoorsman — angler, hunter, camper and nature 
lover. 

FOREST and STREAM brings to you the best of out* 
door literature written by the foremost authorities ia 
their respective fields. By making use of the coupon 
to the left you can secure six issues of EOREST and 1 
STREAM containing the complete story "Into the Afri- 
can Blue" for the special price of $1.00, and you will re- 
ceive in addition to the majrazinc and without extra cost 
volumes 1 and 2 of the Sportsmen's Encyclopedia, an 
invaluable reference book which presents in handy form . 
accurate and comprehensive information on every branch 
ui outdoor sport. ; 

Send in 'he coupon— "DO IT NOW!" 





$0 Lafayette Street, Mew York, N. Y. 



Here's my $1.00, I want the 6 issues beginning 
with the December number and Vols. 1 ami L' of 
the Sportsmen's Encyclopedia.' 



Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 



I Will Train You 
> at Home to Fill 



a Big-Pay 
tyuliojob 

I ( you are tarn inn a otnnv less than 350 



L 



Menstke 
PROOF 




|« wfaaurw Tlsnsj 

"Recently I made 
S3TQ m one month 
m my spare time 
installing, Wrvic- 
inc. selling Ra- 
dio Sets.- 
Barle Cumminga, 
II Webster St., 
Haverhill, Mass. 




Mcmt* 



I believe to be the 
brge*t and best- 
equipped Radio 
loop in the Sorth- 
west and alto op- 
erate KOFI. I 
am averaging $450 
s month." 
Frank M. Jones, 
•W Guadalupe St, 
San Angelo, Tex. 



I ( tou are earning a penny less than 150 
a week, send for my book of information on 
the opportunities in Radio. It's FREE, (.'lip 
the coupon NOW. A flood of roM \m pouring 
into Radio, creating hundreds o? big-pay jobs. 
Why go along at $25* SJJil or $45 a week when 
the good jobs in Radio pay $00, $75 and up to 
$250 a week? "Rich Rewards in Radio" gives 
full information on these big jobs and explains 
how you can quickly learn Radio through my 
easy, practical home-study trainmjr. 

fotorlM «f MO tm tag o m W«*k 
Not UmwmI 

The amazing growth of Radio has astounded 
the. world. la a few abort years three hun- 
dred thousand jobs have been created. And 
the biggest growth is still to conic. That's 
why salaries oi $50 to $250 a week are not 
unusual. Radio f jmply hasn't got nearly the 
number of thoroughly trained rrlcn it needs. 



Ymm Cos Lm Qwlriity i 



Uundnda of N. R. I. trained mm are today mak 
tag blf money— hoJdlni -down htf jobs In Ulr Radio 
field. Tou. too. should am n»o Radio. You cu »ut 
borne, -bold /out W and tarn In your tw* Umo. 
La£» of blah school education or Radio experience 
ere no drawbacks. 

Km Em tlf, SM. «M W«Ur 
Om Um llii Wall* UmIh 

I teach tou to begin mafcuia money sbonly after 
you enroll. My new practical method ruMhm this 
poaslble. 1 al*o >ou MX BIO O IT PITH of Radio 
pert* and teach tou -to build practically etery type of 
reotlrlni set known. 11. E. Bull Iran. 413 "3rd St., 
RrowsJjn, N. T.. writes: "I made 17*0 wall ft mudy 
Ing." d. W. I'aa*. 1R0T 31tt At*. R.. NaUuille. 
Tetm.. "1 picked up 9943 In my spare time while 
atudyiui." 1 

Tan Uonmj Baifc U Nat InUM 

Mr eourv ou you fir all lines — menu fact urine*, 
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> Old Crompton's Secret 

By Haul Vincent 



bizarre 



TWO miles west of the village usually accorded the other 

of Laketon there lived an aged characters of the streets, 

recluse who was known only as ' The oldest inhabitants knew nothing 

Old Crompton. As far back as of his past history, and they had long 

the villagers could remember he had since lost their curiosity in the matter. 



Tinted the town 
regularly twice a 
month, each time 
tottering his lone- 
ly way homeward 
with a - load of 
provisions. He 
appeared to be 

wall supplied with funds, but pur- 
dw*<i sparingly as became a miserly 
lnmit. And so vicious was his tongue* 
Alt few cared to converse with him, 
wen the young hoodlums of the town 
^Nutating to harass him with the banter 



Tom's extraordinary machine glowed — 
and the years .war* banished from Old 
Crompton's hotly. Bat there still re- 
deep-seated in his century-old 
mind* the memory of his crime. 

; i_ 



1S3 



He was a fixture, 
as was the old 
town hall With 
its surrounding 
park. His lonely 
cabin was shunned 
by all who chanced 
to pass, along the 
old dirt road that led through the 
woods to nowhere and was rarely "used. 

His only extravagance was in the 
matter of books, and the village book 
store profited considerably by his pur- 
chases. But, at the instigation of Cass 



154 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Harmon, the bookseller, it was whis- 
pered about that Old Crompton was a 
believer in the black art — that he had 
made a pact with the devil himself and 
was leagued with bun and his imps. 
For the books he bought were strange 
ones; ancient volumes' that Cass must 
needs order from New York or Chicag'o 
and that cost as much as ten and even 
fifteen dollars a copy; translations of 
the writings of the. alchemists and as- 
trologers and philosophers of the dark 
ages. 

It was no wonder Old Crompton was 
looked at askance by the simple-living 
and deeply religious natives' of the 
small Pennsylvania town. 

But there came a day when the her- 
mit was to have a neighbor, and the 
town buzzed with excited speculation 
as to what would happen. 

THE property across the road from' 
Old Crompton's hut belonged to 
Alton Forsythe, Lakcton's wealthiest 
resident — hundreds of acre* of scrubby 
woodland that he considered well nigh 
worthless. But Tom Forsythe, the only 
son, had returned from college and his 
ambitions were of a nature strange to 
his townspeople and utterly incompre- 
hensible to his father.! Something 
vague about biology and chemical ex- 
periments and the like is what he spoke 
of, and, when his parents objected on 
the grounds of possible explosions and 
other weird accidents, he prevailed 
upon his father to have a -secluded lab- 
oratory built for him in the woods. 

When the workmen started the small 
frame structure not a quarter of a mile' 
from his own hut, Old Crompton was 
furious. He raged and stormed, bur to 
no avail. Tom' Forsythe had his heart 
set on tne project and he was some- 
what of a successful debater himself. 
The fire that flashed from his cold gray 
eye* matched that from khe pale blue 
ones of the elderly anchorite. And the 
law was on his side. 

So the building was Completed and 
Tom Forsythe mfcved in, bag and bag- 



For more than a year the hermit stu- 
diously avoided his neighbor, though, 
'truth to tell, this required very little 
effort. For Tom Forsythe became al- 
most as much of a recluse as his pre- 
decessor, remaining indoors for days 
at a time and ^visiting the 'home of his 
people scarcely oftener than Old- 
Crompton visited the village. . He too 
became the target of village gossip and 
his name was ere long linked with that' 
of the bid man in similar animadver- 
sion. But he cared naught for the 
opinions of his townspeople nor for the 
dark looks of suspicion that greeted 
him on his rare appearances in the pub- 
lic places. His' chosen work engrossed 
him so deegly that all else counted for 
nothing. His parents remonstrated 
with him in vain. Tom laughed away 
their recriminations and fears, continu- 
ing with his labors more strenuously 
than ever, He never troubled his mind 
over the 7 nearness of Old Crompton's 
hut, the\existeacc"of which he hardly 
noticed or considered. 

IT so happened one day that the old 
man's curiosity 1 got the better of 
him and Tom caught him prowling 
about on his property, peering wonder- 
ingly at the many rabbit hutches, chick- 
, en coops, dove cotes and the like which 
cluttered the space to the rear of the 
laboratory. 

Seeing that he was discovered, the 
old man wrinkled" his face into a tooth- 
less grin of conciliation. 

"Just looking over your place, For- 
sythe," he said. "Sorry about the fins 
I made when you built the house. But 
I'm an old man, you know, and changes 
are unwelcome. Now I have forgotten' 
my objections and would like to bt 
friends. Can we?" 

Tom peered searchingly into the 
flinty eyes that were set so deeply >ni 
the wrinkled, leathery countenance. 
He suspected an ulterior motive, but 
could not find it within him to turn the 
old fellow down. 

"Why— I guess so, Crompton," h*. 
hesitated. "I have nothing against yo8)f; 



OLD CROMPTONTS SECRET 



155 



hat I came here for seclusion and I'll 
not have anyone bothering me in my 
work." 

"I'll not 'bother you, young man. ,But 
I'm fond of pets and I see you nave 
many of them here ; guinea pigs, chick- 
ins, pigeons, and rabbits. Would you 
mind if I make frier/ds with some of 
them?" J 

"They're not pets," answered Tom 
dryly, "they are material for use in my 
experiments. But you may amuse your- 
self with them if you wish." 

"You mean that you cut them up— 
kill them, perhaps?" 
' "Not that. But I sometimes change 
them in physical form, sometimes cause 
them to become of huge size, sometimes 
produce pigmy offspring of normal 
animals." 

"Don't they suffer?" 

"Very Beldom, though occasionally a 
•object dies. But the benefit that will 
accrue to mankind is well worth the 
■light inconvenience to the dumb crea- 
tures, and the infrequent loss of their 
Uves." 

OLD CROMPTON regarded him 
dubiously. "You are trying to 
find?" he interrogated. 

"The secret of life I" Tom Porsythe'a 
•yes took on the stare of fanaticism! 
"Before I have finished I shall know 
the nature qf the vital force — how to 
produce it. I shall prolong human life 
indefinitely ; create artificial life. And 
the solution is more closely approached 
with each passing day." 

The hermit blinked in pretended 
■ratification. But he understood per- 
fectly, and he bitterly envied the 
younger man's knowledge and ability 
that enabled him to delve into the mys- 
teries of nature which had always been 
■o attractive to his own t mind. And 
somehow, he acquired a sudden deep 
hatred of the coolly confident young 
■an who spoke so positively of accom- 
plishing the impossible. 

During the winter months that fol- 
lowed, the strange acquaintance prog- 
ramed but little. Tom did not invite 



his neighbor to visit him, nor did Old 
Crompton go out of his way to impose 
his presence on the younger man, 
though each spoke pleasantly enough 
to the other on the few occasions when 
they happened to meet. 
' With the coming of spring they en- 
countered one another more frequently, 
and Tom found considerable of inter- 
est in the quaint, borrowed philosophy 
of the gloomy old mail. Old Crompton, 
of course, was desperately interested in 
the things that were hidden in Tom's 
laboratory, but he never requested per- 
mission to see them. He hid his real 
{feelings extremely well and was appar- 
ently content to spend as much time as 
possible with the feathered and furred 
subjects for experiment, being very 
careful not to incur Tom's displeasure 
by displaying too great interest m the 
laboratory itself. / 

THEN there 'came a day in early 
summer when an accident served 
to draw the two men closer together, 
and Old Crompton's long-sought op- 
portunity followed. 

He was starting for the village when, 
from down the road, there came a series 
of tremendous squawkings, then a bel- 
low of dismay in the voice of his young 
neighbor. He turned quickly and was 
astonished at sight of a monstrous 
rooster which had escaped and was 
headed straight for him with head 
down and wings fluttering wildly. 
Tom followed dose, behind, but was 
unable to catch the darting monster. 
And monster it was, for this rooster 
stood no less than three, feet in height 
and appeared more ferocious* than a 
large turkey. Old Crompton had 1 his 
shopping bag, a large one of burlap 
which he always carried to town, and 
he summoned enough courage to throw 
it over the head of the screeching, over- 
sized fowl. So tangled did the panic- 
stricken bird become that it was a com- 
paratively simple matter to effect his 
capture, and the old man rose to his 
feet triumphant with th^ bag securely 
closed over the struggling captive. 



156 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Thanks," panted Tom, when he 
drew alongside. ' "I should never have 
caught him,' and his appearance at large, 
might have caused me a great, deal of V 
trouble — now of all times." 

"It's all right, Foray the," smirked ahe 
old man. "Glad I was able to do it." 

Secretly he gloated, for he. knew this 
occurrence would be an open sesame < to 
that laboratory- of Tom's. And it 
proved to be just that. 

A FEW nights Liter he was awak- 
ened by a vigorous thumping at 
his door, something that had never be- 
fore occurred during his nearly sixty 
years occupancy of the tumbledown 
hut. The moon was high and he cau- 
tiously peeped from the window and 
saw that -his late visitor was none other 
than young Forsythe. 

"With you in a minute I" he shouted, 
hastily thrusting his rheumatic old 
limbs into his shabby trousers. "Now 
to see the inside of that laboratory," he 
chuckled to himself. 

It required but a moment to attire 
himself in the scanty raiment he wore 
during the #arm months, but he could 
hear Tom muttering and impatiently 
pacing fhe flagstones before his door. 

"What is it?" he asked, as he drew 
thejbolt and emerged into the brilljant 
light of the moon. 

"Success I" breathed Tom excitedly.' 
"I have produced growing, living mat- 
ter synthetically. More than this, I 
have learned the secret of the vital 
force — the spark of life. Immortality 
is within easy; reach. Come and see 
for yourself." \ ' . W 

They quickly trav8»Afct|sV«hort dis- 
tance to the. two-stoCT jfrpM jtfe which 
comprised Tom's w6^spMp9y>d. Irving 
quarters. The entire ' groumf floor was 
taken up by the laboratory, and Old 
Crompton stared aghast at the wealth 
of equipment it contained. Furnaces 
there were, and retorts that reminded 
him of those pictured in the wood cuts 
in some of his musty books. Then 
there were complicated machines with 
many levers and dials-mounted on their 



faces, and with huge glass bulbs of pe- 
culiar shape with coils of wire connect- 
ing to knoblike protuberances of their 
transparent walls. In the exact center 
of the great single room there was what 
appeared to be a dissecting table, with 
a brilliant light overhead and with two 
of the odd glass bulbs at. either end. 
It was to this table that Tom led the 
excited old man. 

"This is my perfected apparatus," 
said Tom proudly, ""and by its use I 
intend to create a new race of super- 
men, men and women who will alwayt 
retain, the vigor and strength of their 
youth and who can not die excepting 
by actual destruction of their bodies, 
Under the influence of the rays all 
bodily ailments vanish as if by magic, 
and organic defects are quickly cor- 
rected. Watch this now." 

HE stepped to one of the many 
cages at the side of the room xai 
returned with a wriggling cottontail in- 
his hands. Old Crompton watched anx- 
iously as he picked a nickeled instru- 
ment from a tray of surgical appliances 
and requested his visitor; to hold the 
protesting animal while he covered its 
head with a handkerchief. 
• "Ethyl chloride;* explained Tom, 
noting with amusement the' look of dis- 
taste on the old man's face. "Well 
just put him to sleep for a minute while 
I amputate a leg." 

The struggles of the rabbit quickly 
ceased when die spray soaked the hand- 
kerchief and the anaesthetic took, ef- 
fect. With a shining scalpel and a sur- 
gical saw. Tom speedily removed one 
of the forelegs of the animal and thes 
he placed the limp body in the center 
of the table, removing the handker- 
chief from its head as he did so. At 
the end of the table there was a panel 
with its glittering array oi switches 
and electrical instruments, and Oil 
Crompton observed very closely the 
manipulations of the controls as Tea 
started the mechanism. With the en- 
suing hum of a motor-generator from*, 
comer of the room, the four bulbs ssV 



OLD CROMPTON*S SECRET 



157 



Jtcent to the table sprang into life, each 
glowing with a different color and each* 
emitting a different vibratory note as 
it responded to the energy within. 

"Keep an eye on Mr. Rabbit now," 
admonished Tom. 

From the body of the small animal 
there emanated an intangible though 
hazily visible aura as the combined ef- 
fects of the- rays grew in intensity. Old 
Crompton bent over the table and 
peered amazedly at the stump of the 
foreleg, from which , blood -no longer 
dripped.. The stump was healing over t 
Yea — it seemed to elongate as' one 
watched. A new limb was growing on 
to replace the oldl Then the animal 
struggled once more, this time to re- 
gain consciousness. In a moment it 
was fully awake and, with a frightened 
hop, was off the table and hobbling 
•bout in search of a hiding place. 

TOM FORSYTHE laughed. "Never 
knew what happened," he exulted, 
"rod excepting for the temporary limp 
k not inconvenienced at all. Even that 
will be gone in a couple of hours, for 
the new limb will be completely grown 
by that time." 

"But — but, Tom," stammered the old 
man, "this is wonderful. How do you 
iccomplish it?" 

"Hal Don't think I'll reveal my 
secret. But this much I will tell you : 
the life force generated by my appa- 
ratus stimulates a certain gland that's 
normally inactive in warns 1 blooded ani- 
aals. This gland, when active, poe- 
tesses the function of growing new 
■sabers to the body to replace lost 
sues in much the same manner as this 
Is done in case of the lobster and cer- 
tain other crustaceans. Of course, the 
process is extremely rapid when the 
|hnd is stimulated by the vital rays 
from my tubes. But this is only one 
ai the many wonders of the process. 
Here is something far more remark- 

'lie took from a large glass jar the 
sedy of a guinea pig, a body that was 
ngid In death. 



"This guinea pig," he explained, "was 
suffocated twenty-four hours ago and 
is stone dead." 

"Suffocated?" 

"Yes. But quite fbinlessly, I assure 
you. I merely remold the air from 
the jar with a vacuum pump and the 
little creature passed out of the picture 
very quickly. Now we'll revive it." 

Old Crompton stretched forth a skin- 
ny hand to touch the dead animal, but 
withdrew it hastily when he felt the 
clammy rigidity of the body. There 
was no doubt as to the Hfelessness .of 
this specimen. 

TOM placed the dead guinea pig on 
the spot where the rabbit had been 
subjected to the action of the rays. 
Again his visitor watched carefully as 
he manipulated the controls of the ap- 
paratus. 

With the glow of the tubes and the 
ensuing haze of eery light that sur- 
rounded the little body, a marked 
change was .apparent The inanimate 
form relaxed suddenly and it seemed 
that the muscles pulsated with an ac- 
cession of energy. Then one leg was 
'stretched forth spasmodically. There 
was a convulsive heave as the lungs 
drew in a first long breath, and, with 
that, an astonished and very much alive 
rodent scrambled to its feet, blinking 
wondering eyes in the dazzling light. 

"See? .See?" shouted Tom, grasping 
Old Crompton by the arm in a' viselike 
grip. "It is the secret of life and 
death I Aristocrats, •plutocrats and beg- 
gars will beat a path to my door. But, 
never fear, I shall choose my subjects 
well. The name of Thomas Porsythe 
will yet be emblazoned in the Hall of 
Fame. I shall be master of the world I" 

Old Crompton began to fear tfte glit- 
ter in the eyes of the gauKt young man 
who seemed suddenly to have become 
demented. And his envy and hatred of 
his talented host blazed anew as For- 
sythe gloried in the success of his ef- 
forts. Then he was struck with an idea 
and he affected his most ingratiating 
manner. 



158 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"It is a marvelous thing, Tom," he 
said, "and is entirely beyond my poor 
comprehension. But I can see that it 
is all you say and more. Tell me— can 
you restore the youths of an aged per- 
son by these means?" 

"Positively I" Tom did not catch the 
eager note in the old man's voice. Rath- 
er he took the question as an inquiry 
into the further marvels of his process. 
"Here," he continued, [enthusiastically, 
"I'll prove that to yoi also. My dog 
Spot is around the place somewhere. 
And he is a decrepit old hound, blind, 
lame and toothless. You've probably 
seen him with me." 

HE rushed to the stairs and whis- 
tled. There was an answering 
yelp from above and the pad of uncer- 
tain paws on. the barb wooden steps. 
A dejected old beagle! blundered into 
the room, dragging a crippled hind leg 
as he fawned upon his master, who 
stretched forth a hand to pat the un- 
steady head. 

"Guess Spot is old , enough for the 
test," laughed Tom, "and I have been 
meaning to restore him to his youthful 
vigor, anyway. No time like the pres- 
ent." 

He led his trembling pet to the table 
of the remarkable tubes and lifted him 
to its surface. The poor old beast lay 
trustingly where he was placed, quiet, 
save for his husky asthmatic breathing. 

"Hold him, Crompton," directed Tom 
as he pulled the starting lever of his 
apparatus. 

And Old Crompton watched in fas- 
cinated anticipation as the ethereal lu- 
minosity bathed. the dog's body in re- 
sponse to the action of the four rays. 
Somewhat vaguely it came to him that 
the baggy flesh of his own wrinkled 
hands took on a new firmness and color 
where they reposed on the animal's 
back. Young Forsythe grinned tri- 
umphantly as Spot's breathing .-became 
more regular and the rasp gradually 
le'ft it. Then the dog whined in pleas- 
ure and wagged his tail with increasing 
vigor. Suddenly he raised his head, 



perked hiB ears in astonishment asi 
looked his master straight in thV fata 
with, eyes that saw once more. The le* 
throat cry rose to a full and joyous 
bark. He sprang to his feet from W 
der the restraining hands and jumped 
to the floor in a lithe-muscled leap tktt 
carried him half way across the rocuL 
He capered about with the abandon of 
a puppy, making extremely active use 
of four sound limbs. 

"Why — why, Forsythe," stammered 
the hermit, "it's absolutely incredible, 
Tell me — tell me — what is this remark- 
able force?" 

HIS host laughed gleefully. "Yob 
probably wouldn't understand tt 
anyway, but I'll tell you. It is as lis* 
pie as the nose on your face. The spuh 
of life, the vital force, is merely an «s>' 
trenrtly complicated electrical manifes- 
tation which I have been able to dupU- 
cate artificially. This spark or font 
^is all that distinguishes living from ia- 
^animate matter, and in living beinp 
'the force gradually decreases in power 
as the years pass, causing loss of health 
and strength. The chemical composi- 
tion of bones and tissue alters, johds 
become stiff, muscles atrophied, sad 
- bones ..brittle. By recharging, as it 
were, with the vital force, the gland 
action is intensified, youth and strength 
is renewed. By repeating the procca 
every ten or fifteen years the same de- 
gree of vigor can be maintained indef- 
nitely. Mankind will become immortal 
That is why I say I am to be master si 
the world." 

Ftir the moment Old Crompton for- 
got his jealous hatred m the enthuaV 
asm with which he wadhmbued. 'Tost 
— Tom," he pleaded fa his excitement 
"use .me as a subject. Renew my youth. 
My life has been a sad one and a lonejg 
one^but I would that I might live $ 
over. I should make' of .it a far diM> 
ent one — something worth while. S«% 
I am ready." 

He sat on the edge of the gleamW 
table and made as'tt to lie down on kf 
gleaming surface. But his young baf 



OI4> CROMPTON'S SECRET 



159 



taly stared at him in open amusement 
' "What? You?" he sneered, unfeel- 
ingly. "Why, you old fossil I I told 
p/a I would choose my subjects care- ^ 
folly. They are to be people; of stahd- 
and wealth, who can contribute to 
gat fame and fortune of one Thomas- 
forsythe." 

"But Tom, I have money," Old 
Crompton begged. But when he saw 
Ac hard mirth in the younger man's 
eyes, his old animosity flamed anew 
aid he sprang from his position and 
jfcook a skinny fore-finger in Tom's 
face. 

"Don't do that to me, you old fool I" 
■booted Tom, "and get out of here. 
Think I'd waste current on an old cad- 
ger like you? I guess not I Now get 
, |st. Get out, I say I" 

Then the old .anchorite saw red. 
Something seemed to snap in his soured 
*M brain. He found himself kicking 
aid biting and punching at his host, 
•ao backed away from the furious on- 
drught in surprise. Then Tom tripped 
over a wire and fell to the floor with a 
force that rattled' the windows, his fero- 
cious little adversary on top. The 
younger man lay still where he had 
fallen, a trickle of v blood showing at 
Us temple. 

"My God I I've- killed him!" gasped 
Iks old man. 

With trembling fingers he opened 
Ton's shirt and listened for his heart- 
nuts. Panic-stricken, he rubbed the 
young man's wrists, slapped his cheeks, 
mi ran for water to dash in his face. 
But all efforts to revive him proved 
futile, and then, in awful fear, Old 
Cnapton dashed into the night, the 
■kg Spot snapping at his heels as he 
an. 

BOpRS later the stooped figure of 
a shabby old man might have 
seen stealthily re-entering the 
hsjdy workshop where the lights still 
■Vied, brightly. Tom Forsythe lay 
ifajH in the position in which Old 
QRnpton had left him, and the dog 
fphrled menacingly. 



Averting his gaze and circling wide 
of the body. Old Crompton made for 
the table of the marvelous rays. In 
minute detail he recalled every move 
made by Tom in starting and adjusting 
the apparatus to produce the incredi- 
ble results, he had witnessed. Not a 
moment was to be wasted now. Al- 
ready he had hesitated too lorg, for 
soon would come the dawn and possible 
discovery of his crime. But the inven- 
tion of his victim would save him from 
the long arm of the law, for, with youth 
restored, Old Crompton would cease to' 
exist and a new life would open its 
doors to the starved soul of the hermit. 
Hermit, indeed I He would begin life 
anew, an active man with youthful vig- 
or and ambition. Under an assumed 
name he Would travel abroad, would 
enjoy life, and would later become a 
successful man of affairs. He had 
enough money, he told himself. And 
the police would never find Old Cromp- 
ton, the murderer of Tom Forsythe I 
He deposited his small traveling bag 
on the floor ant fingered the controls 
of Tom's apparatus. 

He threw, the starting switch confi- 
dently and grinned in satisfaction as 
the answering whine of the motor-gen- 
erator came to his ears. One by one he 
carefully made the adjustments in ex- 
actly the manner followed by the now 
silenced discoverer of the process. 
Everything operated precisely as it 
had during the preceding experiments. 
Odd that he should have anticipated 
some such necessity I But something 
had told him to observe Tom's move- 
ments carefully, and now he rejoiced 
in the fact that his intuition had led 
him aright. Painfully he climbed to 
the table top and stretched his aching 
body in the warm light of the four huge 
tubes. His exertions during the strug- 
gle with Tom were beginning to tell 
on him. But the soreness and stiffness 
of feeble muscles and stubborn joints 
would soon be- but a memory. His 
pulses quickened at the thought and he 
breathed deep in a sudden feeling of 
unaccustomed well-being. 



160 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



THE dog. growled continuously 
from his position at the head of 
his master, but did' not move to inter- 
fere with the intruder. And Old 
Crompton, in the excitement of the mo- 
mentous experience, paid him not the 
slightest attention. / 

His body tingled from head to foot 
with a not unpleasant sensation that 
conveyed the assurance of radical 
changes taking place under the influ- 
ence of the vital ray*. The tingling 
sensation increased in* intensity until 
it seemed that; every corpuscle in his 
veins danced to the tune of the vibra- 
tion from those globing tubes' that 
bathed him in an evefrspreading radi- 
ance. Aches and pains vanished from 
his body, but he soon experienced a 
sharp stab of new pain in his lower jaw. 
Wi^h an' experimental forefinger he 
rubbed the gum. He laughed aloud as 
the realization came to him that in 
those gums where there had been no 
teeth for more than twenty years there 
was now growing a complete new set. 
And the, rapidity of the process amazed 
him beyond measure. The aching area 
tapread quickly and was becoming real- 
JW uncomfortable. But then — and he 
consoled himself #ith the' thought — 
-nothing is brought into being without 
a pertain amount of pain. Besides, he 
was confident that his discomfort 
would soon be over. 1 
He examined his hand, and found 
that the joints of two fingers long crip- 
pled with rheumatism how moved free- 
ly and painlessly. The misty brilliance 
surrounding his body was paling and 
he saw that the flesh was taking on a 
faint green fluorescence instead. The 
rays, had completed their work -and 
soon the transformation would be fully, 
effected. He turned on his side and 
slipped to the floor with the agility of 
a youngster. The dog snarled anew, 
but kepi steadfastly to his position. 

THERE was a small mirror over 
the wash stand at the far end of 
the room and Old Crompton made haste 
to obtain the first view of his reflected 



image. His step was firm and springy, 
his bearing confident, and he found ' 
that his long-stooped shbuMen ' 
straightened naturally and easily. Hi 
felt that he had taken on at least t*j« 
inches in stature, which was indeed 1st 
case. When he reached the mirror be 
peered anxiously into its dingy surface 
and what he saw there so startled him 
that he stepped backward in bow. 
merit. This was not Larry Crompton, 
but an entirely new man. The stiami y 
white hair had given way to soft, 
healthy waves of chestnut hue. Gone 
were the seams from the leathery coun- 
tenance and the eyes looked out clearly 
and steadily from under brows as thick 
and dark as they had been in his youth 
The reflected features were those of as. 
entire Btranger. They were not era 
reminiscent of the Larry Crompton of 
fifty years ago, but were the featttnt 
of a far more vigorous and preposseav 
ing individual than he had ever seemed, 
even in the best years of his life. TV 
jaw was firm, the once sunken chceb 
so we'll filled out that his high check 
bones were no longer in evidence, h 
was the face of a man of not more mm 
thirty-eight years of age,. Reflecting ex- 
ceptional intelligence and strength of 
character. 

"What a disguise I" he exclaimed in 
delight. And his voice, echoing in the 
stillness that followed the switcbiaf 
off of the .apparatus, was deep-throated 
and mellow — the. voice of a new, man. 

Now, serenely confident that disco* 
ery was impossible, he picked up bo 
small but heavy bag and started for the 
door. Dawn was breaking and he 
wished to put as many miles bcrfeea 
himself and Tom's laboratory as coakf 
be covered in the next few horn 
But at the door he hesitated. Then, 
despite .the furious yapping of Spot, 
he returned to'the table of the rays sod, 
with deliberate thoroughness smashed 
the costly tubes which had bronchi 
about his rehabilitation. With a pints 
bar from a nearby tool rack, he wrecked 
.the controls and generating mechan- 
isms beyond recognition. Now he wp 



OLD CROMPTOJTS SECRET 



161 



absolutely secure! No meddling ex- 
perts could possibly discover the. secret 
of Tom's invention. All evidence 
would show that the < young experi- 
menter had met his death at the hands 
of Old Crompton, the despised permit 
of West Laketon. But none would 
dream that the handsome man of means 
who was henceforth to be known as 
George Voight was that same despised 
hermit. 

He recovered his satchel and left the 
scene. With long, rapid, strides he 
proceeded down the old dirt road to- 
ward the main highway where, instead 
of turning east into the village, he 
would turn west and walk to Kerns- 
burg, the neighboring town. There, in 
not more than two hours time, his new 
life would really begin I 

HAD you, a visitor, departed from 
Laketon when Old Crompton did 
and returned twelve years later, you 
would have noticed very little differ- 
ence in the appearance of the village. 
The old town hall and the little park 
were the same, the dingy brick build- 
ing among the trees being just a little 
dingier and its wooden steps more 
worn and sagged. The main street 
showed evidence of recent repaving, 
and, in consequence of the resulting in- 
crease in through automobile traffic, 
there were two new gasoline filling sta- 
tions in the heart of the town. Down 
the road abouA half mile there was a 
new building, which, upon inquiring 
from one of the native's, would be 
proudly designated as the" new' high 
school building. Otherwise there were 
no changes to be observed. 

In his dilapidated chair in the untidy 
office he had occupied for nearly thirty 
years, sat Asa Culkin, popularly known 
as "Judge" Culkin. Justice of the 
peace, ^sheriff, attorney-at-law, and 
three times Mayor of Laketon, he was 
still a controlling factor in local poli- 
tics and government. And many a 
knotty legal problem was settled in 
that gloomy little office. Many a dis* 
pute in the town council was. dependent 



for arbitration upon the keen mind and 
understanding wit of the old judge. 

The four o'clock train bad just puffed 
its labored way from" the station when 
a stranger entered his office, a stranger 
of uncommonly prosperous air. The 
keen blue eyes of the old attorney ap- 
praised him instantly and classified him 
as a successful man of business, not yet 
forty years of age, and with a weighty 
problem oti his mind. >■ 

"What jean I do for you, sir?" he 
asked, removing his feet from the bat- 
tered desk top. 

"You may be able to help me a great 
deal. Judge," was the unexpected reply. 
"I came to Laketon to give myself up." 

"Give yourself up?" Culkin rose to 
his feet in surprise and unconsciously 
straightened his shoulders in the effort 
to seem less dwarfed before the tall 
stranger. "Why, what do you mean?" 
he inquired. 

"T WISH to give myself up for mur- 

X der," answered the amazing vis- 
itor, slowly and with decision, "for a 
murder conAnitted twelve years ago. I 
should like you to Uj^n to my story 
first, thougii. It Jh&b4>een kept too 
long." " fM\ 

"But I Btill dar not understand.", 
There was puzzlement in the honest old 
face ,pf the attorney. He shook his 
gray locks in uncertainty. "Why 
should you come here? Why come to 
me? What possible interest can I haVe 
in the matter?" 

"Just this, Judge. You do not rec- 
ognize me now, and you will probably 
consider my story incredible when you 
hear it. But, when I have given yon- 
all the -evidence, you will know who I 
am and will be compelled to believe. 
The murder was committed in Like- 
ton. That is whj; I came to you." 

"A murder in Laketon? Twelve 
years ago?" Again the aged attorney 
shook his head. "But — proceed." 

"Yes. I killed Thomas Forsythe." 

The stranger looked for an expres- 
sion of horror in the features t>i his 
listener, but there was none. Instead 



162 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



the benign countenance took oh a look 
of deepening amazement, but the smile 
wrinkles had somehow vanished and 
the old face was grave in its surprised 
, interest. \ 

"You seem astonished," continued 
the stranger. "Undoubtedly you wye 
convinced that the murderer was Larry 
Crompton — Old Cromptonf the hermit. 
He disappeared the night of the crime 
and has never been heard from since. 
Am I correct?" 

"Yea. He disappeared all right. But 
continue," 

. Not by a lift of his eyebrow did Cul- 
kin betray his disbelief, but the stran- 
ger sensed that his story was somehow 
not as startling as it should have been. 

"You will think me crazy,' I presume. 
But I am Old Crompton. It was my 
hand that felled the' unfortunate young 
man in his laboratory out there in WeBt 
Laketon twelve years ago to-night. It 
was his marrelots invention ifhat trans- 
formed the old hermit into „th< appar- 
ently young mat; you see before you. 
But I swear that I am none pttic* than 
Larry Crompton and that L killed 
young Forsy\he. I am ready to pay 
the penalty. I can bear the flagellation 
of my own conscience no longer." 

THE visitor's voice had risen to the 
point of hysteria. But bis listener 
remained calfaand unmoved. 

"Now just let^ne get this 1 straight," 
he said quietly. "Do I understand that 
you claim to be Old Crompton, rejuven- 
ated in some mysterious manner, and 
'that you killed Tom Foraythe on that 
night twelve years ago? Do I under- 
stand that you wish now to go to trial 
for that crime and to pay. the penalty ?" 

"Yes I Yes t And the sooner the bet- 
ter. I can stand it no longer. I am 
the most miserable man in the world 1" 
"Hm-m — hm-m," muttered the judge, 
"this is strange." He spoke soothingly 
to his visitor. "Do not upset yourself, 
I beg of you. I will take care of this 
thing for you, never fear. Just take a 
seat. Mister— er— " 
"You may call me Voignt fdr the 



present," said the stranger, in a more 
composed tone of voice, "George 
Voight. That is the name I have been 
using since the mux — since that fatal 
night." 

"Very well, Mr. Voight." replied the 
counsellor with an air of the greatest 
solicitude, "please have a seat now, 
while I make a telephone call." 

And George Voight slipped into a 
stiff-backed chair with a sigh of relief. 
For he knew the judge from the old 
days and he was now certain that his 
case would be disposed of very quickly. 

With the telephone receiver pressed 
to his ear, Culkin repeated a number. 
The stranger listened intently during 
the ensuing silence. Then there came 
a muffled' "hello" sounding in impa- 
tient response to the call. 

"Hello, Alton," spoke kthe attorney, 
"this is Asa speaking. A stranger has 
just stepped into my office and he 
claims to be Old Crompton. Remember 
the hermit across the road from your 
son's old laboratory? Well, this man, 
who bears no resemblance whatever to 
the old man he claims to be and who 
seems to be less than half the age of 
Tom's old neighbor, says that he killed 
Tom on that night we remember so 
well.'', 

THERE were some surprised re- 
marks from the other end of the 
wire, but Voight was unable to catch 
them. He was in a cold perspiration 
at the thought of meeting bir victim's 
father. s V' 

"Why, yes, Alton," continued Culkin, 
"I think there is something in this 
story, although I cannot believe it all.- 
But I wish you would accompany us 
and visit the laboratory. Will you?" 

"Lord, man, not that I" interrupted 
the judge's visitor. "I can hardly bear 
to visit the scene of my crime — and ill 
the company of Alton Forsythe. 
Please, not jthat I" 

"Now. you just let me take care of 
this, young man," replied the judge, 
testily. Then, once more speaking into 
the mouthpiece of the telephone. "All 



OLD CROMPTON'S SECRET 



163 



right, Alton. We'll pick you up at 
your office in five minutes." 

He replaced the receiver on its hook 
and turned again to his visitor. "Please 
be so kind as to do exactly as I re- 
quest," he safd. "I want to help you, 
but there is more to this thing than 
you know and I want you to follow' un- 
questioningly where I lead and ask no 
questions at all for the present. Things 
may turn out differently than you* ex- 
pect." 

"AJ1 right, Judge." The visitor re- 
signed himself to whatever might 
transpire ' under the guidance of the 
man he had called upon to turn him 
over to the officers of the law. "> 

SEATED in the judge's ancient 
motor car, they stopped at the 
ofice of Alton Forsythe a few minutes 
later and were joined by that red-faced 
and pompous old man. Few words 
were spoken during the short run to 
the well-remembered location of Tom's 
laboratory, and the man who was 
known as George Voight caught at his 
own throat with nervous fingers when 
they passed the tumbledown remains 
of the hut in which Old Cromptbn had 
spent so many, years. With a screech- 
ing of well-wom brakes the car stopped 
before the laboratory, which was now 
almost hidden behind a mass of shrubs 
and flowers. 

"Easy now, young man," cautioned 
the judge, noting the look of fear 
which had clouded his new client's fea- 
tures. The three men advanced to the 
door through which Old Crompton had 
-fled on that night of horror, twelve 
years before. The elder Forsythe spoke 
not a word as he turned the knob and 
stepped within. Voight' shrank from 
entering, but soon mastered his. feel- 
ings and followed the other two. The 
sight that met his eyes caused him to 
cry aloud in awe. 

At the dissecting table, which seemed 
to be exactly as he had seen it last but 
with replicas of the tubes he had de- 
stroyed once more in place, stood Tom 
Forsythe I Considerably older and 



;with hair prematurely .gray, he was still 
the young man Old Crompton thought 
he -had killed. Tom Forsythe was -not 
dead after all I, And all of his years 
of misery had gone for nothing. He 
advanced slowly to the side of the won- 
dering young man, Alton Forsythe and 
Asa Culkin watching silently from just 
inside the door. 

"Tom — Tom," spoke the stranger, 
"you are alive? You were not dead 
when I left you on that terrible night 
when I smashed your precious tubes? 
Oh — it is too good to be true! I can 
scarcely believe my eyes!" 

HE. stretched forth trembling .'fin- 
gers to touch the body of the 
young man to assure himself that it 
was not tall a dream. 

"Why, 1 * said Tom Forsythe, in aston- 
ishment. "I do not know you, sir. 
Never saw you in my life. What do 
you mean by your talk of smashing' my 
tubes, of leading me for dead ?" 

"Mean ?" The stranger's voice rose 
now; he was growing excited. "Why, 
Tom, I am Old Crompton. Remember 
the struggle, here in this very room? 
You refused to rejuvenate an unhappy 
old man with your marvelous appa- 
ratus, a temporarily 'insane old man — 
Crompton. I was that old man and I 
fought with you. You fell, striking 
your head. There was blood. You 
were unconscious. Yesvior many hours 
I was sure you were de&d and that I 
had murdered you. But J had watched 
your manipulations of the apparatus 
and I subjected myself to the action of 
the rays. My- youth wis miraculously 
restored. I became as you see me now. 
Detection was impossible, for I looked 
no more like Old Crompton than you 
do. I smashed your machinery to avoid 
suspicion. Then, I escaped. And, for 
'twelve years, I nave thought myseH a 
murderer. I have suffered the tortures 
of the damned I" & 

Tom Forsythe advanced on this re- 
markable visitor with clenched fists. 
Staring him in the eyes with cold Sp- 
' praisal, his wrath was all too apparent. 



164 



• ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The dog Spot,, young as ewer, entered 
the room and, upon bbserving the stran- 
ger, set up an ominous growling, and 
snarling. At least the dog recognised 
him! vh^ , , 

"What are you trying to > *6, cate- 
chise me? Are you another of these 
alienists my father has been bringing 
around?" The young inventor was fu- 
rious. "If you are," hi continued, "you 
can get out of here — now I I'll have 
no more of this meddling with my af- 
fairs.. I'm as sane as any of you and I 
refuse to submit to this continual per- 
secution." 

The elder Forsythe grunted, and 
Culkin laid a restraining hand, on his 
arm. - "Just a minute now, Tom," he 
said soothingly. "This stranger is no 
alienist. He has a story to tell. Please 
permit him to finish. 

SOMEWHAT mollified, Torn For- 
sythe shrugged his assent. 
"Tom," continued the stranger, more 
calmly now, "what I have said is the 
truths I shall prove it to you. I'll tell 
you things no mortals on earth could 
know but we two. Remember the day 
I captured the big rooster for you — the 
monster you had created? Remember 



ger, there sto4d before them a bent, 
withered old-man — Old Crompton be- 
yond a doubt. The effects of Tom's 
process were spent. " 

"Well I'm damned I", ejaculated Al- 
ton Forsythe. "You have been right 
all along, Asa. And I am mighty glad 
I did not commit Tom as I intended. 
He has told us the truth all these years 
and. we were not wise enough to Bee it." 

"Wei" exclaimed the judge. "Your 
Alton Forsythe 1 I have always up- 
held him. You have done your son a 
grave injustice and you owe him your 
apologies if ever a father owed his son 
anything." 

"You are right, Asa." And, his aris- 
tocratic pride forgotten, Alton For- 
sythe rushed to the side of his son and 
embraced him. 

The judge turned to Old Crompton 
pityingly. "Rather a bad ending for 
you, Crompton," he said. "Still, it is 
better by far than be^ng branded as a 
murderer." ' \ 

"Better,? Better?" croaked Old 
Crompton. "It is wonderful, Judge. I 
have never been so happy in my life!" 

THE face of the old man beamed, 
though scalding tears, coursed 



the night you awakened me and" down the withered and seamed cheeks. 



brought me here in the moonlight? Re- 
member the rabbit whose legiyou ampu- 
tated and. re-grew? The poor guinea 
pig you had suffocated and Whose life 
you restored? Spot here? • Don't you 1 
remember rejuvenating hin) ? I was 
here. And you refused to use your 
process on me, old man that I was. 
Then is when I went mad and attacked 
you. Do you believe me. Torn?" 

Then a strange thing happened. 
While Tom Forsythe gazed in growing 
belief, the stranger's shoulders sagged 
and he trembled as with the Ague. The 
two older men who had kfpt in the 
background gasptfd their astonishment 
as his hair faded to a sickly gray, then 
became as .white as the driven snow. 



The two Forsythes looked up from 
their demonstrations of peacemaking 
to listen to the amazing words of the 
old hermit. 

"Yes, happy for the first time in my 
life," he, continued. "I am one hundred 
years of age, gentlemen, and I now look 
it and feel it. That is as it should be. 
Ani my experience has taught me a 
final lasting lesson. None of you know 
it, but, when I was but a very young 
man I was bitterly disappointed in love. 
Hal ha I Never think it to look at me 
now,) would you? But I was, and it 
ruined my entire Hfe. 1 had a little 
money — inherited — and I traveled 
wilt in, the world for a few years, then' 
sttt.le'dMn that old hut across the, road 



Old Crompton was reverting to his ywhelfe I buried myself for sixty years, 
previous state I Within five minuteV becoming crabbed arid sour and de- 
inatead of the handsome young stran- spieable. Young Tom here was the 



first bright spot and, though. I admired 
him, I hated him for his opportunities, 
bated him for that whiolfhe had that 
I bad not. With the promise of hid in- 
vention I thought I saw happiness, a 
new life for myself, t got what I want- 
ed, though not in the way L had expect- 
ed. And I want to tell you gentlemen 
that there is nothing in it. With de- 



0LD CROMPTONS SECRET 



165 



the long-nursed 'anger over the destruc- 
tion of his equipment melted into a 
strange mixture "of pity and admiration 
for the courageous old fellow. , 
* "Why, I guess I can, Crompton," he 
replied, '^Fhere was many a day when 
| struggled^bopelessly to reconstruct 
my apparatu^ cursing you with' every 
bit of energy in my make-up. I could 



velopments of modem science you may cheerfully have throttled you, had you 



be able to restore a man's youthful vig- 
or of body, but you can't cure his mind 
with electricity. Though I had a 
youthful body, my brain was the brain 
of an old man — memories were there 
which could nit be suppressed. Even 
had I not had the fancied death of 
young Tom on my conscience I should 
•till have been miserable. I worked. 
Cod, how I worked — to forget I But I 
could not forget. I was successsful in 
business and made a lot of money. 
I am more independent — probably 
wealthier than you, Alton Forsythe, but 
that did not bring happiness. I longed 
4o be myself once more, to have the 
aches and pains which had been taken 
from me. It is natural ta age and to 
die. Immortality would make of us 
a people of , restless misery. We would 
quarrel and bicker and long for death, 
which would not come to relieve His. 
Now it is over for me and I am glad — 
glad — glad I" 

HE paused for breath, looking be- 
seechingly ajt Tom Forsythe. 
"Tom," he said, "I suppose you have 
nothing for me in your heart but 
hatred. And I don't blame you. But I 
wish — I wish you would try and for- 
give me. Can you?" 

The years had brought increased un- 
derstanding and tolerance to young 
Tom. He stared at Old Crompton and 



^Heen within reach. Fpr twelve years 
I have labored incessantly to reproduce 
the results we obtained on the night of 
which you speak. People called me in- 
sane—even my father wished to have 
me committed to an asylum. And, un- 
til now, I have been unsuccessful. Only 
to-day has it seemed for the. first time 
that the experiments will again suc- 
ceed. But my ideas have changed-with 
regard to the uses of the process. I 
was a cocksure young pup in the old 
days, with foolish dreams of fame and 
influence. But I have seen the error of 
my ways. Your experience, too, con- 
vinces me that immortality may not be 
as desirable as I thought. But there 
are great possibilities in the way of re- 
lieving the sufferings of mankind and 
in making this a better world in which 
to live. With your advice and help I 
believe I can do great things. I now 
forgive you freely and I ask you to re- 
main here with me to assist in the work 
that is to come. What do you say to 
the idea?" 

At the reverent thankfulness in the 
pale eyes of the broken old man who 
had so recently been a perfect specimen 
of vigorous youth, Alton Forsythe blew 
v his nose noisily. The little judge 
smiled benevolently and shook his head 
as if to say, "I told you so." 'Tom and 
Old Crompton gripped hands— mighti- 



COMING, NEXT MONTH 

BRIGANDS OF THE MOON 
By RAY CUMMINGS 



The sky was alive with winged shapes, 
and high n the air skome ike glitter' 
img menace, trailimg five plumes of gas. 



Spawn of the Stars 

By Charles W Ulead DifUn 



WHEN Cyrus R. Thurston 
bought himself a single- 
motored Stoughton job he, 
was looking for new thrills. 
Flying around the east coast had lost 
its zest : he want- 
ed to join that 
jaunty group who 
spoke so easily of 
hopping off for 
Los Angeles. 

And what Cy- 
rus Thurston 

wanted he usually obtained. But if 
that young millionaire-sportsman had 



The Earth lay powerless beneath thoM 
loathsome, yellowish monsters that, 
sheathed in cometlike globes, sprang from 
the skies to annihilate man and reduce 
his cities to ashes. 



M 



been told that on his first flight this 
blocky, bulletlike ship waVto pitch him 
headlong into the exact center of the 
wildest, strangest war this earth had 
ever seen — well, it is still probable that 
the Staughton 
company would 
not have lost the 
sale. 

They were 
roaring through 
the-, starlit, cabs 
! night, three thou- 
sand feet above a sage sprinkled desert 
when the trip ended. Slim Riley bad 




the stick when the first blast of hot oil the endless miles of moonlit waste 

ripped slashingly across the pilot's Wind? They had been boring into it. 

window. "There goes your old trip I" Through the opened window he 

he yelled. "Why don't they try putting spotted a likely stretch of ground, 

engines in these ships?" Setting down the ship on a nice piece 

He jammed over the throttle and, of Arizona desert was a mere detail for 

with motor idling, swept down toward Slim. 

167 



168 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Let off a flare,'' ho ordered, "when 
I give the 'word." 

THE white glare of it faded the 
star* as he sideslipped, then 
straightened out on his hand-picked 
field. The plane rolled down a clear 
space and stopped. The bright glare 
persisted while he stared, curiously 
from the quiet cabin. Cutting the mo- 
tor he opened both windows, then 
grabbed Thurston by the shoulder. 

" Tis a curious thing, that," he said 
unsteadily. His hand pointed straight 
■Bead. The flare died, but the bright 
stars of the desert country still shone 
on a glistening, shining bulb. 

It was some two hundred feet away. 
The lower part was lost in shadow, but 
its upper 'surfaces shone rounded and 
silvery like a igiant bubble. It towered-', 
in the air, scores of feet above the 
chapparal beside it. There was a 
round spot of black on its side, which 
looked absurdly like a door. . . . 

"I saw something moving," said 
Thurston slowly. "On the ground I 
saw. . . . Oh, good Lord, Slim, it isn't 
reaU" 

Slim Riley made no reply. His eyes 
were rivetted to an'undulating, ghast- 
ly something that oozed and crawled 
in the pale light not far from the bulb. 
His hand was reaching, reaching. . . .- 
It found what he sought ; he leaned to- 
ward the window. In his hand was the 
Very pistol for discharging the flares. 
He aimed forward and up. 

The second flare hung close before 
it settled on the sandy floor. Its blind- 
ing whiteness made the more loath- 
some the sickening yellow of the flabby 
flowing thing that writhed frantically 
in the glare. It was formless, shape- 
less, a heaving mound of nauseous mat- 
ter. Yet even in its agonized writhing 
distortions they sensed the beating pul- 
sations that marked it a living thing. 

There were unending ripplings 
crossing and recrosslng through the 
convolutions. To Thurston there was 
suddenly a sickening 1 likeness: the 
tiling 'was a brain from a gigantic skull 



— it waa naked — was suffering... . , 

THE thing poured itself across the 
sand. Before the staring gaze of 
the speechless men an excrescence ap- 
peared — a thick bulb on the mass — that 
protruded Itself into a tentacle. At the 
end there grew instantly a hooked 
hand. It reached for the black open- 
ing in the great shell, found it, and the 
whole loathsome shapelessness poured 
itself up and through the hole. 

Only at the last was it still. In the 
dark opening the last slippery mass held 
quiet for endless seconds. It formed, 
as they watched, to a head — frightful- 
menacing. Eyes appeared in the head; 
eyes flat and round and black save for 
a cross slit in each; eyes that stared 
horribly and unchangingly into theirs. 
Below them a gaping mouth opened 
and closed. . . . The head melted — was 
gone. . . . 

And with its going came a rushing 
roar of sound. 

From under the metallic mass 
f shrieked a vaporous cloud. ' It drove at 
them, a swirling blast of snow and 
sand. Some buried memory of gas at- 
tacks woke Riley from his stupor. He 
slammed shut the windows an instant 
before the cloud struck, but not before 
they had seen, in the moonlight, a 
gleaming, gigantic, elongated bulb rise 
swiftly — screamingly — into the upper 
air. 

The blast tore at their plane. And 
the cold in their tight compartment 
\ was like the cold of outer space. The 
men stared, speechless, panting. Their 
breath froze in that frigid room into 
Bteam clouds. 

"It — it. . ." Thurston gasped — and 
slumped helpless upon the floor. 

IT was an hour before they dared 
open the door of their cabin. An 
hour of biting, numbing cold. Zero- 
on a warm summer night on the desert I 
Snow in the hurricane that had struck 
them ! 

"'Twas the blast from the thing," 
guessed the pilot; "though never did 



SPAWN OP THE STARS 



169 



I tee an edgine with an exhaust like 
that." He was pounding himself with 
hit anna to force up the chilled circu- 
lation. _ 

"But the beast — the — the thing!" ex- 
claimed' Thuraton. "It's monstrous; 
Indecent I It thought — no question ef 
that — but no body I Horrible! Just a 
nw, naked, thinking protoplasm I" 

It was here that he flung open the 
door. They sniffed cautiously of the 
air. It was warm again — clean — save 
for a hint of some nauseous odor. They 
walked forward; Riley carried a flash. 

The odor grew to a atench aa they 
came where the great mass had lain. 
On the ground was a fleshy mound. 
There were bones showing, and horns 
on a skull. Riley held the light' close 
to show the body of a steer. A body 
of raw bleeding meat. Half of it had 
been absorbed. , . . 

The damned thing," said Riley, and 
paused vainly for adequate words. "The 
damned* thing was eating. . . . Like a 
jelly-fish, it was I" 

"Exactly," Thurston agreed. He 
pointed about. There were other heaps 
scattered among the low sage. 

"Smothered," guessed Thurston, 
"with that frozen exhaust. Then the 
filthy thing landed and came out to 
est." 

"Hold the light for me," the pilot 
commanded. "Km goin' to fix that 
busted oil line. And I'm goin' to do 
it right now. Maybe the creature's still 
hungry." 

fp HEY sat in their room. About 
, aVthem was the luxury of a modem 
WeL Cyrus Thurston stared vacantly 
st the breakfast he was forgetting to 
cat He wiped his hands mechanically 
on, a' snowy napkin. He looked from 
the window. There were palm treea 
In the park, and autos in a ceaseless 
•cream. And people! Sane, sober 
people, living in a sane world. News- 
toys were shouting ; the life of the city 
was flowing. 

"Riley t" Thurston turned to the man 
•cross the table. His voice was curi- 



ously toneless, and his face , haggard. 
"Riley, I haven't slept for three nights. 
Neither have you. We've got to get 
this thing straight. We didn't both 
become absolute maniacs at the same 
instant, but — it waaJpt there, it was 
never there — not that. . . ." He was 
lost in unpleasant recollections. "There 
are other records of hallucinations." 

"Hallucinations — hell!" said Slim 
Riley. -He was looking at a Los An- 
geles newspaper. He passed one hand 
wearily across his eyes, but his face 
was happier then it had been in days. 

"We didn't imagine it, we aren't 
crazy — it's real! Would you read that 
now!" He passed the paper access to 
Thurston. The headlines were start- 
ling. 

"Pilot Killed by Mysterious Airship. 
Silvery Bubble Hangs Over New York. 
Downs Army Plane in Burst of Flame. 
Vanishes, at Terrific Speed." 
" "It's wir little friend," said Thurs- 
ton. And on his facey too, the lines 
were vanishing; to find this horror a 
reality was positive relief. "Here's the 
same cloud of vapor— drifted slowly 
across the #ity, the accounts says, blow- 
ing thfe stuff like steam from under- 
neath. Airplanes investigated — an army 
plane drove into the vapor — terrific ex- 
plosion — plane down in flames — others 
wrecked. The machine ascended with 
meteor speed, trailing blue flame. 
Come on, boy, where's that old bus? 
Thought I never wanted to fly a plane 
again. Now I don't want to do any- 
thing but.'' 

"Where to?" Slim inquired. 

"Headquarters," Thurston told him. 
"Washington— let's go!" 

FROM Los Angeles to Washington 
is not far, as the. plane flies,. There 
was a stop or two for gasoline, but it 
was only a day later that they were 
seated in the War Office. Thurston's 
card had gained immediate admittance. 
"Got the ^low-down," he had written on 
the back of his card, "on the mystery 
airship." 

"What you have told me is incred- 



170 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



■I 



ible,", the Secretary was saying, "or 
would be if General Lozier here had 
not reported personally on the occur- 
rence at New, York. But the monster, 
the thing you have described. . . . Cy, 
if I didn't know you as I do I would 
have you locked up." 

"It's true," said Thurston, simply. 
"It's damnable, but it's true. Now what 
does it mean?" 

"Heaven knows," was the . response. 
"That's where it came from— out of 
the heavens." 

"Not what we saw," Slim Riley broke 
in. "That thing came straight out of 
Hell." And in bys voice was no sug- 
gestion of levity. \ 

"You left Los Angeles early yester- 
day; have you seen the papers?" 

Thurston shook his head. 

"They are back," said the Secretary. 
"Reported over London — Paris — the 
West Coast. Even China has seen 
them.' Shanghai cabled an hour ago." 

"Them? How many are there?" 

"Nobody knows. There were five 
seen at one time. There are 1 more — 
unless the same ones go around the 
world in a matter of minutes." 

THURSTON remembered that 
whirlwind of vapor^md a vanish- 
ing speck in the Arizona sky. "They' 
could," he asserted. "They're faster 
than anything on earth. Though what 
drives them . . . that gas — steam — what- 
ever it is. . , ." 

f "Hydrogen," stated General Lozier. 
"I saw the New York show when poor 
Davis got his. He flew into the ex- 
haust ; it went off like a million bombs. 
Characteristic hydrogen flame trailed 
the. damn thing up out of sight — a tail 
of blue fire." 

"And cold," stated Thurston. 

"Hot as a Buhsen burner," the Gen- 
eral contradicted. "Davis' plane almost 
melted." 

"Before it ignited," said the other. 
He told of the cold in their plane. 

"Hal" The General spoke explosive- 
ly. "That's expansion. That's a tip on 
their motive power. Expansion of gas. 



That accounts for the cold and ; tht 
vapor. Suddenly expanded it would be 
intensely cold. The moisture of tkt 
air would condense, freeze. But how 
could they carry it? Or" — he frowned 
for a moment, brows drawn over deep- 
set gray eyes — "or generate it? But 
that's crazy — that's impossible!" 

"So is the whole matter," the Secre- 
tary reminded him. "With the infor- 
mation Mr. Thurston and Mr. Riley 
have given us, the whole affair is be- 
yond , any gage our past experience 
might supply. We start from the im- 
possible, and we go— where? What it 
to be done ?" 

"With your permission, sir, a num> 
ber of things shall be done. It would 
be interesting to see what a squadron 
of planes might accomplish, diving oa 
them from above. Or anti-aircraft 
fire." 

"MO," said the Secretary of War, 

AN "not yet. They have looked ua 
f over, but they have not attacked. For 
the present we do not know what they 
are. All of us have our suspicions- 
thoughts of interplanetary travel — 
' thoughts too wild for serious utterance 
— but we know nothing. 

'^Say nothing to the papers of whit 
you have told me," he directed Thurs- 
ton. "Lord knows their surmises are 
wild enough now. And for you, Gen- 
eral, in the event of any hostile move, 
you will resist." 
\ "Your order was anticipated, sir." 
The General permitted himself a slight 
smile. "The air force, is ready." 

"Of course," the Secretary of War 
nodded. "Meet me here to-night — nine, 
o'clock." He included Thurston and 
Riley in the command. "We need to 
think ... to think . .'. and perhaps their 
mission is friendly." 

"Friendly !*' The two flyers ex- 
changed glances as they went to the 
door. And each knew what the other 
was seeing — a viscous ocherous meat 
that formed into a head where eye* 
devilish in their hate stared coldly intt 
theirs. ... 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



171 



"Think, we need to think," repeated Thurston's lips were compressed and 
Thurston later. "A creature that is just his eyes hardened. He threw the pa- 
one big hideous brain, that can think pers aside. 

m arm into existence — think a' head^ "They are here," he said, "and that's 
vhere.it wishes I What does a thing that we know. I hope the Secretary 



like that think of?' What beastly 
thoughts conld that — that thing con- 
cede?" 

"If I got the sights of a Lewis gun 
as it," said Riley vindictively, "I'd 
sake it think." 

"And my guess is that is all you 
would accomplish," Thurston told him. 
1 am forming a few theories about our 
fisitora. One ia that it would me quite 
impossible to find a vital spot in that 
big homogeneous, mass." 

The pilot dispensed with theories: 
Us was a more literal mind. "Where 
on earth did they come from, do you 
■appose, Mr. Thurston?" 

THEY were walking to their hotel. 
Thurston raised his eyes to the 
somner heavens. Faint Stars were 
beginning to twinkle; there was one 
that glowed steadily. 

"Nowhere on earth," Thurston stated 
softly, "nowhere on earth." 

"Maybe soi" said the pilot, "maybe 
■0. We've thought about it and talked 
about it . . . and they've gone ahead and 
done it." He called to a newsboy ; they 
look the latest editions to their room. 
The papers were ablaze with spew 



of War gets some good men together. 
And I hope someone is inspired with 
an answer." 

"An answer is it?" said Riley. "I'm 
thinkin' that the -answer will cdme, but 
not from these swivel-chair fighters. 
Tis the boys in the cockpits with one 
hand on the stick and one on the guns 
that will have .the answer." 

But Thurston shook his head. "Their 
speed," he said, "and the gas I Remem- 
ber that cold. How much of it can they 
lay over a city?" 

The question was unanswered, un- 
less the quick ringing of the phone was 
a reply. 

"War Department," said a voice. 
"Hold the wire." The voice of the Sec- 
retary of War came on immediately. 

"Thurston?" he asked. "Come over 
at once on the jump, old mail. Hell's 
popping." 

• l 

THE windows of the War De- 
partment Building were all alight 
as they approached. Cars were com- 
ing and going; men in uniform, as the 
Secretary had said, "on the jump." 
Soldiers with bayonets stopped them, 
then passed Thurston and his compan- 



ion. There were dispatches from all *«v>n on. Bells were ringing from all 



earners of the earth, interviews with 
scientists and near scientists. The ma- 
chines were a Soviet invention — they 
were beyond anything human — they 
were harmless — they would wipe out 
civilization— poison gas — blasts of fire 
like that which had enveloped the army 
Brer. 

And through it all Thurston read an 
Ul-concealed fear, a reflection of panic 
that was gripping the nation — the 
whole world. These great machines 
were sinister. Wherever they ap- 
peared came the sense of being 
watched, of a menace being calmly 
withheld. And at thought of the ob- 
scene monsters inside those spheres. 



sides. But in the Secretary's office 
was perfect quiet.*- 

General Lozier. was there, Thurston 
saw, and an imposing array of gold- 
braided men with a sprinkling of those 
in civilian clothes. One he recognized : 
MacGregor from the Bureau of Stand- 
ards. The Secretary handed Thurston 
some papers. 

"Radio," he explained. • "They are 
over the Pacific coast. . Hit .near Van- 
couver; Associated Press says city de- 
stroyed. They are working down the 
coast. Same story — blast of hydrogen 
from their funnel shaped base. Colder 
than Greenland below them; snow fell 
in Seattle. No real attack since Van- 



172 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



couver and little damage done — " A 
message was laid before him. 

"Portland," he taii. "Five mystery 
ships over city. Dart repeatedly to- 
ward earth, deliver blast of gas and then 
retreat. Doing no damage. Apparently 
inviting attack. All commercial planes 
'ordered grounded. Awaiting instruc- 
tions, t. 

"Gentlemen," said the Secretary, "I 
believe I speak for aJJ present when I 
say that, in the absence of first' hand 
information, we are utterly unable to 
arrive at any definite conclusion or 
make a definite-plan. J There is a men- 
ace in this, undeniably. Mr. Thurston 
and Mr. Riley have been good enough 
to report to me. They have seen one 
machine at close range. It was occu- 
pied by a monster so incredible that the 
report would receive no attention from 
me did I not know Mr. Thurston per- 
sonally. 

"Where have they come from? What 
does it mean — what is their mission ? 
Only God knows. 

"Gentlemen, I feel that I must see 
them. I want General, Lozier to accom- 
pany me, also Doctor MacGregor, to 
advise me from th'e scientific angle. 1 1 
am going to the Pacific Coast. They 
may not' wait — that is true — but they 
appear to be going slowly south. I -will 
leave to-night for San Diego. I hope 
to intercept them.- We have strong 
air-forces there; the Navy Department 
is cooperating." 

HE waited for nc/ comment. "Gen- 
eral," he ordered! "will you kindly 
arrange for a plane? Take an escort 
or not as you think best. 

"Mr. Thurston and Mr. Riley will 
also accompany us. We want all the 
authoritative data we can get. This on 
my return will be placed before you, 
gentlemen,' for your consideration." 
He rose from his chair. "I hope they 
wait for us," he said. 

Time was when a commander called 
loudly for a horse, but in this day a 
Secretary of War is ; not kept waiting 
for transportation. Sirening motor- 



cycles preceded them from the city, 
^Within an hour, motors roaring wida 
open, propellors ripping into the sum. 
mer night, lights slipping eastward 
three thousand feet below, the Seen. 
t tary of War for the United States was 
on his way. 'And on either side fron 
their plane stretched^ the arms of a V. 
Like a flight of gigantic wild geese, 
fast fighting planes of the Army air 
service bored steadily into the" night, 
guarantors of safe convoy. 

"Tjpe Air Service is ready," General 
Lozier had said. And Thurston and 
his pilot knew that from East coast to 
West, swift scout planes, whose idling, 
engines could roar into action at a mo- 
ment's notice, stood waiting; battlt 
planes hidden in hangars would roll 
forth at the word— the Navy was co- 
operating — and at San Diego there 
were strong naval units, Army units, 
and Marine Corps. , 

"They don't know what we can do, 
what we have up our sleeve : they are 
feeling us out," said the ) Secretary. 
They had stopped more than once for 
gas and 'for wireless reports. He held 
a sheaf of typewritten briefs. 

"Going slowly south. They have 
taken their , time. Hours over San 
Francisco and the bay district. Re- 
peating same tactics; fall with terrific 
speed to'cushion against their (blast of 
. gas. Trying to draw us out, provoks 
an attack, make us show our 'strength. 
Well, we shall beat them to San Diego 
at this rate. We'll be there in a few 
hours." / 

THE afternoon sun was dropping 
ahead of them when they sighted 
the water. "Eckener Pass," the pilot 
told them, "where the Graf Zeppelin 
came through. Wonder what these 
birds would think of a Zepp ! 

"There's the ocean," he added after 
a thne r San Diego glistened against 
the bare hills. "There's North Island 
— the Army field." He stared intently 
ahead, then .shouted: "And there they- 
are I Look there I" 

Over the city a cluster of meteors 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



173 



fallin g. Dark underneath, their 
ippa ihone like pure silver in. the sun's 
Anting glare. They fell toward. the 
city, then buried themselves in a dense 
tlsud of steam, rebounding at once to 
the upper air, vapor trailing behind 

The cloud billowed slowly. It 
ctrack the hills of the city, then lifted 
■si vanished. 

•land at once," requested the Secre- 
jKf. A Bash of silver countermanded 
Ike order. 

It bung there before them, a great 
penning globe, keeping always its dis- 
tance ahead. It was elongated > at the 
base, Thurston observed. From that 
hue shot the familiar blast that turned 
tamy a hundred feet below as it 
chilled the warm air. There were round 
orifices, like porta, ranged around the 
top, where an occasional jet of vapor 
Aowed this to be a method of control. 
Other spots shone dark and glassy. 
Were they windows? He hardly re- 
ilued their peril, so interested was he 
in the strange machine ahead. 

rpHEN: "Dodge that vapor," or- 
J. dered General Lozier. The plane 
vmred in signal to the others and 
•wang sharply to the left. Each man 
knew the flaming death that was theirs 
if the fire of their exhaust touched that 
explosive mixture of hydrogen and air. 
The great bdbble turned with them and 
''paralleled their course. 

"He's watching us," said Riley, "giv- 
ing us the once over, the slimy devil. 
Ain't there a gun on this ship?" 

The General addressed his superior. 
Even above the roar of the motors his 
voice seemed quiet, assured. "We must 
sot land now," he said. "We can't land 
tt North Island. It would focus their 
attention upon our defenses. That 
tUag— whatever it is — is looking for a 
vtfaerahle spot. We must. Hold 
aa-there he goes I" 

The Ug bulb shot upward. . It slanted 
awre them, and hovered there. 

1 think he is about to attack," said 
the General quietly. And, to the com- 



mander of their squadron : "It's in your 
hands' now, Captain. It's yoyr fight." 

The Captain nodded and' squinted 
above. "He's got to throw heavier stuff 
than that," he remarked. A small ob- 
ject was falling from the cloud. It 
passed close to their ship. 

"Half-pint size," said Cyrus Thurs- 
ton, and laughed in derision. There 
was something ludicrous in the futility 
of the attack. He stuck his head from 
a window into the gale they created. 
He sheltered his eyes to try to follow 
the missile in its fall. 

THEY were over the city. The 
criss-cross of streets made a grill- 
work of lines; tall buildings were 
dwarfed from this three thousand foot 
altitude. The sun slanted across a 
projecting promontory to make golden 
ripples on a blue sea and the city, 
sparkled back 'in the clear air. Tiny 
white faces were massed in the streets, 
huddled in clusters where the futile 
black missile had vanished. 

And then-jthen the 'city was 

gone . 

A white cloud-bank billowed and 
mushroomed. Slowly, it seemed to the 
watcher — so slowly. 

It was done in the fraction of a sec- 
ond. Yet in, that brief time his eyes 
registered the chaotic sweep in ad- 
vance of the cloud. There -came a 
crashing of buildings in some monster 
whirlwind, a white cloud engulfing it 
all. . . . It, was rising — was on them. 

"God," thought Thurston, "why can't 
I move I" The plane lifted and lurched. 
A thunder of sound crashed against 
them, an intolerable force. They were 
crushed to the floor as the plane was 
hurled over and upward. 

Out of the mad whirling tangle of 
flying bodies, Thurston glimpsed one 
clear picture. The face of the. pilot 
hung battered and blood-covered before 
him, and over the. limp bddy the hand 
of Slim Riley clutched at the switch. 

"Bully boy," he said dazedly, "he's 
cutting the motors. . . ." The thought 
ended in blackness. 



174: 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



There was no Bound of engines or 
beating propellers when he came to 
his senses. Something lay heavy upon 
him. He pushed it to one aid^. It was 
the | body of General Lozier. 

HE drew himself to his knees to 
look slowly about, nibbed stupid- 
ly at his eyes to quiet the whirl, then' 
stared at the blood on his hand. It 
was! so quiet — the motors — what was it 
that happened? Slim had reached for 
the jswitch. . : . 

The whirling subsided. Before Mm 
be saw Slim Riley at the controls. He 
got |to his feet and Went unsteadily for- 
ward. It was a battered face that was 
lifted to his. # 

"She was spinning," the puffed lips 
were muttering slowly. "I brought her 
out ■. . . there's the field. . . ." His voice 
was, thick ; he formed the words slow- 
ly, painfully. "Got to land can 
you take it? I'm — I'm — " He slumped 
limply in his seat. 

Thurston's arms were uninjured. He 
dragged the pilot to the floor and got 
back of thf wheel. The field was be- 
low them. There were planes taxiing 
out; he heard the roar of their motors. 
He tried the controls. The plane an- 
swered stiffly, but he managed to level 
off as the brown field approached. 

Thurston never remembered that 
landing. He was trying to drag Riley 
from the battered plane when the first 
man got to him. 

"Secretary of War?" he gasped. "In 
there. . . . Take Riley; I can walk." 

"We'll get them," an officer assured 
him. "Knew you were coming. They 
sure gave you hell I But look at the 
city.!" 

Arms carried him .stumbling from the 
field. Above the low hangars he saw 
smoke-clouds over the bay. These and 
red rolling flames marked what had 
been an American city. Far in the 
heavens movefl five glinting specks. 

His head reeled with the thunder of 
engines. There were planes standing 
in lines and. more erupting from 
hangars, where khaki-clad men, faces 



tense under leather helmets, 
swiftly abotit. 

"General 'Lozier Is dead," said 
voice. Thurston turned to the 
They were bringing the others, 
rest are smashed up some," the oB 
told him, "but I think they'll 
through." 

THE Secretary of War for 
United States lay beside him. Mi 
with red on, their sleeves were alii 
hit coat. Through . one good eye b| 
squinted .at Thurston. He even manj. 
aged a smile. 

"Well, I wanted to see them 
close," he said. "They say you uvi 
us, old man." 4 

Thirrston waved that aside. "Tl 
Riley — " he began/but the words en 
in the roar of an exhaust. A pi 
darted swiftly away to shoot vertical]; 
a hundred feet in the air. Another fol ' 
lowed and another. In a cloud of brom i 
dust they streamed endlessly Mri 
zooming up like. angry hornets, cage 
to get into the fight. 

"Fast little devils I" the ambulant 
- man observed. "Here come the . bi| 
boys." « 

A leviathan went deafeningly pit) 
And again others came on in quick toe ■ 
'cession. Farther up the field, silver] 
gray planes with rudders flaunting 
their red, white and blue rose cirdiai! 
to the heights. 

"That's the Navy," was the explain 
tion. 1 The surgeon straightened tb 
Secretary's arm. "See them come ol 
the big airplane carriers I" 

If his remarks were part of hit pre 
{Visional training in removing a pt 
tient's thoughts from his pain, the] 
.were effective. - The Secretary star* 
but to sea, where two great flat-decks 
craft were shooting 'planes with tb 
regularity of a rapid 'fir.e gun. Tfcq 
stood out sharply against a bank « 
gray fog. Cyras Thurston forgot \k 
bruised body, forgot' his own perUr ' 
even the inferno that raged back warn 
the bay : he was lost in the sheer thffl , 
of the spectacje. ( 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



175 



ABOVE them the sky was alive 
with winged shapes. And from 
(U the disorder there was order appear- 
in. Squadron after squadron swept 
0 ' tattle formation. Like flights of 
vtld ducks the true sharp-pointed Vb 
mt ti off into the sky. Far above and 
beyond, rows of dots marked the race 
of iwift scouts' for the upper levels. 
And high in the clear air shone the 
{Uttering menace trailing their five 
phases' of gas. 

A deeper detonation was merging 
into the uproar. It came from the 
£ipt, Thurston knew, where anti-air- 
cnft guns poured a rain of shells into 
tbe iky. About the invaders they 
Mooned into clusters of smoke balls. 
The globes shot a thousand feet into 
Ike air. Again the shells found them, 
mi »*ain they retreated. 
"Look I" said Thurston. "They got 

He groaned as a long curving arc of 
sped showed that the big bulb was «n- 
Jer control. Over^ the ships it paused, 
to balance and swing, then shot to the 
smith as one of the great boats ex- 
ploded in a-, cloud of vapor. 

.The following blast swept the air- 
drome. Planes yet on the ground went 
Ifce dry autumn leaves. The hangars 
vert flattened. 

Thurston cowered in awe. They were 
aWltered, he saw, by a slope of the 
pound. No ridicule now for th,e 
bombs I 

A second blast marked when the gas- 
cloud ignited: The billowing flames 
were blue. They writhed in tortured 
convulsions through the air. Endless 
explosions merged into one rumbling 
roar. 

MacGregor had roused from his stu- 
par; he raised to a sitting ppsitipn. 

"Hydrogen," he stated positively, 
mi pointed where great volumes of 
tsne were sent whirling aloft. "It 
barm as it mixes with air." The scien- 
tist was studying intently the mam- 
Mtk reaction. "But the volume," he 
Barreled, "the volume I From that 
Mall container I Impossible I" \ 



"Impossible," the Secretary agreed, 
"but. a. ." He pointed with his one good 
arm toward the Pacific. Two gTeat 
ships of steel, blackened and battered 
in that fiery breath, tossed helplessly 
upon the pitching, heaving sea. They 
furnished to the scientist's exclama- 
tion the only adequate reply. 

Each man stared aghast -into the pal- 
lid faces of his companions. "I think 
we have underestimated the opposi- 
tion," said the Secretary of War quiet- 
ly. "Look — the fog is coming in, but 
it's tqo late to save them." 

THE big ships were vanishing in the 
oncoming fog.. Whirls of vapor 
were eddying toward them in the Same- 
blaster air. Above their the watchers 
saw dimly the five gleaming bulbs. 
There were airplanes attacking: the 
tapping of machine-gun fire came to 
them faintly. 

Fast planes circled arid swooped to- 
ward the enemy. An armada of big 
planes drove in from beyond. Forma- 
tions were blocking space above. . . . 
Every < branch of the service was there, 
Thurston exulted, the army, Marine 
Corps, the Navy. He gripped hard at 
the dry ground in a paralysis of taut 
nerves. The battle was on, and in the 
balance hung the fate of the world. 

The / fog droye in fast. Through 
straining eyes he tried in vain to 
glimpse tbe drama spread above. The 
world grew dark and gray. He buried 
his face in his hands. 

And again came the thunder. The 
men on the ground forced their gaze^ 
to the clouds, though they knew some 
fresh horror awaited. 

The fog-clouds reflected the blue ter- 
ror above. They were riven and torn. 
And through them black objects were 
falling. Some blazed as 'they fell. 
They slipped into unthought maneu- 
vers — they darted to earth trailing a yel- 
low and black of gasoline 'fires. The 
air was filled with the dread rain of 
death that was spewed from the gray 
clouds. Gone was the roaring of mo-, 
tors. .The air-force of the San Diego 



176 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



area swept in silence' to the earth, 
whose impact alone could give kindly 
Concealment to their flame-stricken 
burden. 

Thurston's last control snapped. He 
flung himself flat to bury his face in 
the sheltering earth. 1 

ONLY the driving necessity of work 
to be done saved the sanity of the 
survivors. The commercial broadcast- 
ing stations were stemolished, a part of 
the fuel for the terrible furnace across 
the bay. But the Naval radio station 
was beyond on an outlying hill. The 
Secretary of Waf was in charge. An 
hour's work and this was again in com- 
mission to flash to the world the. story 
of disaster. It told the world also of 
what lay ahead. The writing was 
plain. No prophet was needed to fore- 
cast the' doom and destruction that 
awaited the earth. 

Civilization was helpless. What of 
armies and cannon, of navies, qf air- 
craft, when from some unreachable 
height these"- monsters within . their r 
bulbous machines could drop coldly — 
methodically— -their diminutive bombs. 
And when each bomb meant shattering 
destruction ; each explosion blasting all 
within a radius- of miles ; each followed 
by the blue blast of fire that melted the 
twisted framework of buildings and 
powdered the stones to make of a proud 
city a desolation of wreckage, black 
and silent beneath the cold stars. 
There was no crumb of qomfort for the \ 
world in the terror the radio told. 

Slim Riley was lying on an" impro- 
vised cot when Thurston and the rep- 
resentative of the Bureau of Standards 
joined him. Four walls of a room still 
gave shelter in a half-wrecked build- 
ing. There were candles burning: the 
dark was unbearable. 

"Sit down," said MacGregor quietly ; 
"we must think. < ." 

"Think I" Thurston's voice had an 
hysterical note. "I can't think I I 
mustn't think I I'll go raving crazy. 

"Yes, think," said the scientist. "Had 



it occurred to you that that is-our < 
weapon left 1 ? 

"We must think, we must 
Have these devils a vulnerable tntf 
Is there any known means of artattj 
We do not know. We must ita 
Here in this room we have all the i 
rect information the world possesses «f 
this menace. I have seen their 
chines Jn operation. Yoji have 
more — you have loofcetT^t the i 
themselves. At one of them, anywaj),* 

THE man's' voice was quiet, met 
ical. Mr. MacGregor was atl 
ing a problem. Problems called 
concentration ; not hysterics. He < 
have poured the contents from a I 
without spilling a drop. His poise l 
needed : they were soon to make a 1 
oratory experiment 

The door burst open to admit a i 
eyed figure that snatched up their < 
dies and dashed them to the floor. 

"Ljghts outl" he screamed at 
"There's one of 'em coming back." Hi 
was gone from the room. r 

The men sprang for the door, thita 
turned to where Riley was clums^ 
crawling from his couch. An arm ai- 
der each' of his, and the three mil 
stumbled from the room. 

They looked about them in (he nigh. 
The fog-banks were high, drifting jh 
from the ocean. Beneath them the ak 
was clear ; from somewflere above a b» 
den moon forced a pale light throon 
the clouds. And over the ocean, ckst 
to the water, drifted a familiar shif 
Familiar in its huge sleek round 
in its funnel-shaped base where a I 
roar made vaporous clouds upon 
water. Familiar, too, in the wild < 
it inspired. 

The watchers were spellbound. 
ThurstA there came a fury of ' 
tent frenzy. It was so near I 
hands trembled ■ to \tar at that 
to rip at that foul mass he knew ' 
within.L. The great bulb 
past. It was nearing the shore, 
its action I Its motion I 
Gone was the swift certainty of i 



SPAWN OF THE STARS- 

\ • ■ 



177 



KoL The -thing settled and sank, to 
pug weakly with a fresh blast of gas 
Ipsa its exhaust. It settled again, and 
■sosed waveringly on in the night. 

THURSTON was throbbingly alive 
with hope that was certainty. "It's 
been hit," he exulted; "it's been hit. 
Qtrick! After it, follow it I" He 
tasked for a car. There were some 
Ait had been salvaged from the less 
ruined buildings. He swung it quickly 
■round where the others were waiting. 

"Get a gun," he commanded". "Hey, 
you," — to an officer who_ appeared — 
•your pistol, man, quick I We're go- 
ing after it I" He. caught the tossed 
gun and hurried the others into the 
car. 

""Wait," MacGregpr commanded. 
"Would you hunt elephants with a pop- 
jnn? Or these things?" 

"Yes," the other told him, "or my 
bare hands I Are you coming, or aren't 
you?" """ 

The physicist was unmoved. . "The 
creature you saw — you said that it 
writhed in a bright light — you said it 
teemed almost in agony. There's an 
Idea there I Yes, I'm going with you, 
tot keep your shirt on, and think." 

He turned again to the officer. "We 
need lights," he explained, "bright 
lights. What is there? Magnesium? 
lights of any kind?" 

"Wait." The man rushed off into 
ne dark. 

He was back in a moment to. thrust 
s pistol into the car. ."Flares," he ex- 
plained. "Here's a flashlight, if you 
need it." The car tore at the ground 
js Thurston opened it wide. He drove 
recklessly toward the highway that fol- 
lowed the shore. , 

The high fog had thinned to a mist. 
A full moon was breaking through ttf 
touch with silver the white breakers 
Ulting on' the sand. It spread its full 
(lory on dunes and sea: one more of 
the countless soft nights where peace 
sod calm beauty told of an ageless ex- 
igence that made naught of the red 
■woe of men or of monsters. It shone 



on the' ceaseless surf that had beaten 
4hese shores before there were men, 
that would thunder there still when 
men were no more. But to the tense, 
crouching men in the car it shone only 
ahead on a distant,, glittering speck. A 
waverirfg reflection marked the uncer- 
tain flight of, the stricken enemy. 

THURSTON drove like a maniac; 
the road carried them straight to- 
ward their quarry. What could he do ^ 
when he overtook it ? He neither knew 
nor cared. There was only the blind 
fury forcing him on within reach of 
the thing. He cursed as the lights of 
the car Showed a bend in the road. It 
was leaving the shore. 

He slackened their speed to drive 
cautiously into the sand. It dragged 
at the- car, but he fought through to 
the beach, where ''he hoped for firm 
footing. The tide was out. They tore 
madly along the smooth sand, break- 
ers clutching at the flying wheels. 

The strange aircraft was nearer; it 
was plainly oyer the shore, they/ saw. 
Thurston groaned as it shot high in the 
air in an effort to clear the cliffs ahead. 
But the heights were no longer a ref- 
uge. Again it settled. It struck on 
the cliff to rebound in a last futile leap. 
The great pear shape'tilted, then shot 
end over end to crash hard on the firm 
sand. The lights of the car struck the 
wreck, and they saw the shell roll over 
once. A ragged break was opening — 
the spherical top fell slowly to one 
side. It was still rocking as' they 
brought the car to a stop. Filling the 
lower shell, they saw dimly, was a 
mrfcouslike mass that seethed and 
struggled in the brilliance M their 
lights. 

MacCregor was persisting in his the- 
ory. "Keep the lights on tit I" he 
shouted. "It can't stand the light." 

While they watched, the hideous, 
bubbling beast oozed over the side of 
the broken shell to shelter itself in 
the shadow beneath. And again Thurs- 
ton sensed the pulse and throb of life 
in the monstrous mass. 



178 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



HE saw again in his rage the 
streaming rain of black air- 
planes; saw, too, the bodies, blackened 
and charred as they saw them when 
first they tried rescue from; the crashed 
ships; the smoke clouds and flames 
from the blasted city, where people — 
his people, men and women and little 
children — had met terrible death. He 
sprang from the car. Yet he faltered 
with a revulsion that was almost a 
nausea. His gun was gripped in his 
hand as he ran toward the monster. 

"Come back |" shouted MacGregor. 
"Come back I Have you gone mad?" 
He was jerking at the door of the car. 

Beyond the white funnel of their 
lights a yellow thing was moving. It 
twisted and flowed with incredible 
speed a hundred feet back to the base 
of the cliff. It drew itself together in 
a quivering heap. ' 

An out-thrusting rock -threw a shel- 
tering shadow; the moon was low in 
the west, i In the blackness a phosphor- 
escence "was apparent. It rippled and 
rose in the dark with the pulsing beat 
of the jellylike mass. And through it 
were showing two discs. Gray at first, 
they formed to black, staring eyes.' 

Thurston had followed. His gun was 
raised as he neared it. Then out of 
the mass, shot a serpentine arm. It 
whipped about him, soft, sticky, viscid 
-^utterly loathsome, He screamed once 
when- it clung to his face, then tore 
savagely and in silence at the encir- 
cling folds. 

T HE gun I He ripped a blinding 
mass from his face and emptied 
the automatic in a stream of shots 
straight toward the eyes. And he 
knew as. he fired that the effort was 
useless; to have shot at the milky surf 
would have been as vain. 

The thing was pulling him irresisti- 
bly; he sank to his knees; it dragged 
him over the sand. He clutched at a 
rock. A vision was before him: the 
carcass of. a steer, half absorbed and 
still bleeding on the sanJ of an Ari- 
zona desert. . . . 



To be drawn to the smothering 
brace of that glutinous mass . . . 
that monstrous appetite. ... He 
afresh at the unyielding folds, 1 
knew MacGregor was beside him. 

In the man's hand was a flai 
The scientist risked his life on a gui 
He thrust the powerful light into 
clinging serpent. It was like the ti 
of hot iron to human flesh. The 
struggled and flailed in a paroxysm «| 
pain. \ 

Thurston was fret. He lay gaspinf 
on the sand. But , MacGregor I . . i 
He looked up to see him vanish in fW 
clinging ooze. Another, thick tentada 
had been projected from the main ami 
to sweep like a whip about the nasi 
It hissed as it whirled about him M 
the still air. j 
. The flashlight was gone; Thunrteo'i 
hand touched it in the sand. He spitst 
, to his feet and pressed the switch. Hi 
light responded ; the flashlight was <M 
— broken. 

/ A thick arm slashed and w i if ptd 
* about him. ... It beat . him to the 
ground. The Band was moving besots 
him ; he was being dragged swiftly, 
helplessly, toward what waited in the; 
shadow. He was smothering. ... A 
blinding glare filled his eyes. ... j 

THE flares were still burning wsa j 
he dared look about. MacGregor 
was pulling frantically .at his an. j 
"Quick'— quick V he was shouting j 
Thurston scrambled to his feet. 

One glimpse he caught of a heariBf j 
yellow mass in the whjte light; k>| 
twisted in horrible convulsions. Hey ; 
ran stumblingly — drunkenly — towns' i 
the car. 

Riley was half out of the machine , 
He had tried to drag himself to their 
assistance. "I 'couldn't make it," " 
said ; "then I thought of the flares." 

"Thank Heaven," said MacGrtf* 
with emphasis, "it was your legs tht 
were paralyzed, Riley, not your bran." 

Thurston found his voice. "Let** 
have that Very pistol. If light Bsrh 
that damn thing, I km going to pat t 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



179 



tbie of magnesium into the, 'middle 
of it if I die for it" 

"They're all gone," said Riley. 

"Then let's get out of here. I've had 
enough. We can come back later on." 

He got /back of* the wheel and 
■lammed the door of the sedan. The 
moonlight \was gone. The darkness 
wm velvet just tinged with the gray 
that precedes the dawn. Back in the 
deeper blackness at the cliff -base a 
phosphorescent something wavered and. 
(lowed. The light rippled and flowed 
in all directions over the mass. 
Thurston felt, vaguely, its mystery — 
the bulk was a vast, naked brain; its 
quiverings were like visible thought 
wives. . . . 

THE phosphorescence grew bright- 
er. The thing was approaching. 
Thurston let in his clutch, but the sci- 
entist checked him. 

"Wait," he implored, "wait I I 
wouldn't miss this for the world." He 
wived toward the east, where far dis- ' 
,-taat ranges were etched in palest rose. 

"We know less than nothing of these 
creatures, in what part of the universe 
they are spawned, how they live',' where 
they live — Satum I — Mars I — the Moon I 
"But— we shall soon know how one 
dies I" 

The thing was coming from the cliff.. 
In the dim grayness it seemed less 
yellow, less fluid. A membrane en- 
closed it. It was close to the car. Was 
it hunger that drove it, or cold rage 
fox these puny opponents ? The hollow 
eyes were glaring ; a thick arm formed 
•sickly to dart out toward the car. A 
cktod, high above, caught the color of 
approaching day. ' 

Before their eyes the vile mass" 
pulsed visibly; it quivered and beat. 
Then, sensing its danger, it darted like 
sine headless serpent for its machine. 

It massed itself about .the shattered 
top to heave convulsively. The top was 
lifted, carried toward the rest of the 
great metal egg. The sun's first rays 
Bade golden arrows through the dis- 
tant peaks. 



The struggling mass released its bur- 
den to stretch its vile length toward 
the dark caves under the cliffs. The 
last sheltering fog-veil ^parted. The 
thing was half-way to the high -bank 
when ttie first bright shaft of direct 
sunlight shot through. 

Incredible in the concealment of 
night, the vast protoplasmic pod was 
doubly so in the glare of day. But it 
was there before them, not a hundred 
feet distant. And .it boiled in vast tor- 
tured convulsions. The clean sunshine 
struck it, and the mass heaved itself 
into the air in a nauseous eruption, 
then fell limply to the earth. 

THE yellow membrane turned 
paler. Once* more the staring 
black eyes formed to turn hopelessly 
toward the -sheltering glojpe. Then the 
bulk flattened out on the Band. It was 
a jelly like mound, through which trem- 
bled endless quivering palpitations. 

The sun str%ck hot, and before the 
eyes of the watching, speechless men 
was a sickening, horrible Bight — a 
festering mass of corruption. 

The sickening yellow was liquid. It 
seethed and bubbled with liberated 
gases; it decomposed to purplish fluid 
streams. A breath of w^nd .blew in 
their direction. The stench from the 
hideoUB pool was overpowering, un- 
bearable. Their heads swam in the evil 
breath. Thurston ripped the gears 
into reverse, nor stopped until they 
were far away on the clean sand. 

The tide, was coming in wheil they 
returned.' Gone was the vile putres- 
cence. The waves were lapping at the 
base of the gleaming machine. 

"We'll have to work fast," said Mac- 
Cregor. "I must know, I must learn." 
He drew himself up and into the shat- 
tered shell. 

It was of metal, some forty feet 
across, its framework a maze of lat- 
ticed struts. The central part was 
clear. Here in a wide, shallow pan the 
monster had rested. Below this was 
tubing, intricate coils, massive, heavy 
and strong. MacGregor lowered him- 



180 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



self upon it', Thurston was beside him;' 
They went down into the dim bowels 
of the deadly instrument. 

"Hydrogen," the physicist was stat- 
ing. "Hydrogen — there's our starting 
point. A generator, obviously, forming 
the gas — from what? They couldn't 
compress itl They couldn't carry it 
or make it, not the volume that they 
evolved. But they did it, theydid itl" 

CLOSE to the coils a dim light was 
glowing. It was a pin-point of 
radiance in the half-darkness about 
them. The two men bent closer. 

"See," directed MacGregor, "it 
strikes on this mirror — bright metal 
and parabolic. It disperses the- light, 
doesn't concentrate itl Ah! Here is 
another, and another. This one is bent 
—broken. They are adjustable. Hm ! 
Micrometer accuracy for reducing the 
light. The last one could reflect 
through this Blot. I^s light that does 
it; Thurston, it's light that does it I" V 

"Does what?" Thurston had fol- 
lowed the other's analysis of the diffu- 
sion process. "The light that would 
finally reach that slot would be hardly 
perceptible." 

"It's the agent," said MacGregor, 
"the activator — the catalyst I What 
does it strike upon? I must know — I 
must I" 

The waves were splashing outside 
the shell. Thurston turned in a fever- 
ish search of the unexplored depthsA 
There was a surprising simplicity, an 
absence of complicated, mechanism. 
Th.e generator, with its, tremendous 
braces to carry its thrust to the. frame- 
work itself, filled most of the space. 
Some of the ribs were thicker, he no- 
ticed. Solid metal, aa if they might 
carry great weights. Resting upon 
them were ranged numbers of objects. 
They were like eggs, slender, and 
inches in length, On some were pro- 
pellers. They worked through the 
shells on long slender rods. Each was 
threaded finely— an adjustable) arm en- 
gaged the thread. Thurston called ex- 
citedly to the other ,| 



"Here they are," he said. "Latkt 
Here are the shells. Here's what him 
us up!" 

HE pointed tp the slim shafts win 
their little propellorlike fist 
"Adjustable, see? Unwind in thefe 
fall ... Bet 'em for any length of trod 
. . . fires the charge in the air. Thtfi 
how' they wiped'out our air fleet." 

There were 'others without the pro. 
pellors ; they had firis to hold them note 
downward. On each nose was a «n( | 
Tounded cap. <' ' 

"Detonators of some sort," said Mc- 
Gregor. "We've got to have one. Wr 
must get it out quick; the tide's cociuaf 
in." He laid his hands upon one af" 
the slim, egg-shaped things. He lifted, ! 
then strained mightily. 1 But the object j 
did not rise ; if only rolled sluggishly, i 
The scientist stared at it amucij 
"Specific gravity," he exclaimed, "te! 
yond anything known I There's Both- 1 
ing on earth . . . there is no such caV i 
stance ... no form of matter. ..." Ha 
eyes were incredulous. 

"Lots to learn," Thurston answered; 
grimly. "We've yet to leara how to! 
fight dlff theVrther four." 

The other nodded. "Here's the 
secret," he said. "These shells liberate | 
the same gas that drives the machine,' 
Solve one and we solve both — then we 
learn, how to combat it. But how to n> j 
move it — that is the problem. You mi 
I can never lift this out of here." 

His glance darted^ about. There wp! 
a small door in the metal beam. The 
groove in which the shells were place! 
led to it; it was a port for launckbf. 
the projectiles. He moved it, opened 
it. A dash of spray struck him in the 
face. He glanced inquiringly at aa' 
companion. 

"Dare we do it?" he asked. "SB* 
■one of them out?" 

Each man looked long into the eja 
of the other. Was this, then, the eai 
of their terrible night? One shell * 
be dropped — then a bursting vcfleaw, 
to blast them to eternity. ... 
"The boys in the planes risked V 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



181 



Bid Thurston quietly. "They got 
theirs." He stopped for a broken f rag- 
nent of steel. "Try one with a fain on ; 
it hasn't a detonator." 

The men pried at the slim thing. It 
■lid slowly toward the open port. One 
heave and it balanced on the edge, then 
vanished abruptly, The spray was cold 
on their faces. They breathed heavily 
with the. realization that they still 
lived. 

THERE were days of horror that 
followed, horror tempered by a 
numbing paralysis of all emotions. 
There were bodies by thousands to be 
heaped in the pit where San Diego had 
stood, to be buried beneath countless 
tons of debris and dirt. Trains brought 
an army of helpers; airplanes came 
with doctors and nurses and the begin- 
ning of a mountain of supplies. The 
need was there; it must be met. Yet 
the whole world was waiting while it 
helped, waiting for the next b|pw to 
fall. 

Telegraph service was improvised, 
and radio receivers rushed in. The 
news of the world was theirs once 
more. And it told of a terrified, wait- 
ing world. There would be no tem- 
porizing now on the part, of the in- 
vaders. They bad seen' the airplanes 
■warming from the ground— "they 
would know an airdrome next time 
from, the air. Thurston had noted the 
windows in the great shell, windows 
of dull-colored glass which would pro- 
tect the darkness of the interior, es- 
sential to life for the horrible occu- 
pant, but through which it could see. 
It could watch all directions at once. 

THE great shell had vanished from 
the shore. Pounding waves and 
the shifting sands of high tide had ob- 
literated all trace. More than once had 
Thurston uttered devout thanks for the 
chance shell from an anti-aircraf.t gun 
that had entered the funnel beneath the 
machine, had bent and twisted the ar- 
rangement of mirrors that he and Mac- 
Gregor had seen, and, exploding, had 



cracked and broken the domed roof of 
the bulb. They had learned, little, but 
MacCregor was up north within reach 
of Los Angeles laboratories. And he 
had with him the slim cylinder of 
death. He was studying, thinking. 

Telephone service had been estab- 
lished for official business. The whole 
nation-wide system, for that matter, 
was under military control. The Sec- 
retary of War had flown back to Wash- 
ington. The whole world was ,on a war 
basis. War I And none knew where 
they should defend themselves, nor 
how. 

An orderly rushed Thurston to the 
telephone. "You are wanted at once; 
Los Angeles calling." 

The voice of MacCregor was cool 
and unhurried as Thurston listened. 
"Grab a- plane, old man," he was say- 
ing, "and come up here on the jump*!" 

The phrase brought a grim smile to 
Thurston's tired lips. "Hell's pop- 
ping I" the Secretary of War had added 
on that evening those long ages before. 
Did MacGregW have. something? Was 
a different kind of hell preparing to 
pop ? The thoughts flashed through the 
listener's mind. 

"I need a good deputy," MacGregor 
said. "You may be the whole works — 
may have to carry on — but I'll tell you 
it all later. Meet me at (he Biltmore." 

"In less than two hours," Thurston 
assured him. 

A PLANE was at his disposal. 
Riley's legs were functioning 
again, after a fashion. They kept the 
appointment with minutes to spare. 

"Come on," said MacGregor, "I'll 
talk to you in the car." The automo- 
bile, whirled them out of the city to 
race off upon a winding highway that 
climbed into far hills. There was 
twenty miles of this; MacGregor had 
time for his talk. 

"They've struck," he told the two 
men. "They were over Germany yes- 
terday. The news' was kept quiet; I 
got the last report a half-hour ago. 
They pretty well wiped out Berlin. No 



182 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



air-fo&ce there. France and England 
sent a swarm of planes, from the re- 
ports. Poor devils j No need to tell 
you what they got. We've seen it first 
hand. They headed west over the At- 
lantic, the four machines. Gave Eng- 
land a burst or two frqm high up, 
paused over New York, then went on. 
But they're here somewhere, we think. 
Now listen: <? w 

■"How long was it' from the time when 
you saw the first monster until we 
heard from them again?" 

THURSTON forced bis mind; back 
to those days thit seemed so far 
in the past. He tried; to remember. 

"Four days," broke In Riley. "It was 
the fourth day after we found the devil 
feeding." 

"Feeding I" interrupted the scientist. 
"That's the point I am making. Four 
days. Remember that I 

"And we knew they were down in 
the Argentine five days ago — that's an-' 
other item kept from an hysterical 
public. They slaughtered some thou- 
sands of cattle; there were scores of 
them found where the devils — I'll bor- 
row Riley's word — where the devils 
had. fed. Nothing ldft but hide and 
bones. " 

"And — mark this — that was four days 
before they appeared over Berlin. 

"Why? Don't ask me. Do they, have 
to lie quiet for that period mile's up^ 
there in space ? God knows. Perhaps I 
These things seem outside the knowl- 
edge, of a deity, But ; enough of that I 
Remember: four days!) Let us assume 
that there is this four days waiting 
period. It will help us to time them. 
I'll come back to that later. v 

"Here is what I have been doing. 
We know that light is a means of at- 
tack. I believe that tpe detonators we 
saw on those bombs Jnetely opened a 
seal in the shell and [forced in a: flash 
of some sort. I believe that radiant 
energy is what fires the blast. 

"What is it that explodes? Nobody 
knows. We have opened the shell, 
working in the absolute blackness of a 



room a hundred feet underground. W» 
found in it a powder — two powders,!) 
be exact. 

"They are mixed. One is finely & 
vided, the other rather granular; Their 
specific "gravity* is enormous; beyond 
anything known to physical scieace 
unless it would be the hypothetic*] 
neutron masses we think are in eerams 
stars. But this is not matter as we 
know matter; it is something new. 

' M fXUR theory is this : the hydrogen 

\J atom has been split, resolved 
into components,, not of electrons and 
the proton centersXbut held at some 
halfway point of decomposition. Mat' 
ter composed only of neutrons would 
.be heavy beyond belief.. This fits the 
theory in that respect. But the point ie 
this: When these solids are formed— 
they are dense — they represent in I 
cubic centimeter possibly a cubic mile 
of hydrogen gas under normal pres- 
sure. That's a guess, but it will gin 
you the idea. 

"Not compressed, you understand, 
but all the elements present in other 
than elemental form for the reconstruc- 
tion of the atom . .-. for a million bil- 
lions of atoms. 

"Then the light strikes it. These 
dense solids become instantly a gat— 
miles of it held in that small space. 

"There you have it : the. gas, the ex- 
plosion, jthfe entire absence of heat— 
which is to say, its terrific cold — when 
it expands." 

Slim Rijey was looking bewildered 
but game. "Sure, I saw it snow," he 
affirmed, "so I guess the rest must be 
O. K: But what are we going to do 
about it? You say light kills 'em,- and 
fires their bombs. But how can we let 
light into those big steel shells, or the 
little ones either?" 

"Not through those thick walls," said 
MacGregor. "Not light. One of en 
anti-aircraft shells made a 'direct bit 
That might not happen again in a mil- 
lion shots. But there are other Item 
of radiant energy that do penetrate 
steel " 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



183 



THE car had stopped beside a 
grove of eucalyptus. A barren, 
tun-baked hillside stretched beyond. 
MacGregor motioned them to alight. 

Riley was afire with optimism. "And 
do you believe it?" he asked eagerly. 
*Do you, believe that we've got 'em 
licked?"' 

Thurston, too, looked .into Mac- 
Gregor's face: Riley was not the only 
one who needed encouragement. But 
the gray eyes were suddenly tired and 
hopeless. r ' 

"You ask -whit I believe,'.' said the 
scientist slowly. "I believe we are wit- 
nessing the .end of the world, our 
world of humans, their struggles, their 
nave hopes and happiness and aspira- 
tions. ..." 

He was not looking at them. His 
gaze was far off in space. 

"Men will struggle and fight with 
their puny weapons, but these mon- 
sters will win, and they will have their 
way with us. Then more of them will 
come. The world, I believe, is 4 
doomed. ..." ' ~f 

He straightened his shoulders. "But • 
we can die fighting," he added, and 
pointed over the hill. 

"Over there," he said, "in the valley 
beyond, is a charge of . their explosive 
and a little apparatus of mine. I in- 
tend to fire the charge from a distance 
of three hundred yards. I expect to be 
safe, perfectly safe. But accidents 
happen. 

"In Washington a plane is being pre- 
pared. I have given instructions 
through hours of phoning. They are 
Working night and day. It will con- 
tain a huge generator for producing 
my ray. Nothing newt Just the prod- 
uct of our knowledge of radiant energy 
np to date. Bui the man who flies that 
plane will die — horribly. No time to 
experiment with protection. The rays 
will destroy him, though he may live a 
month. 

"I am asking you," he told Cyrus 
Thurston, "to handle that plane. You 
may be of service to the world — you 
may find* you are utterly powerless. 



You surely will die. But you know 
the machines and the monsters; your 
knowledge may -be of value in an at- 
tack." He waited. The silence lasted 
for only a moment. 
"Why, sure," said Cyrus Thurston. 

HE looked at the eucalyptus grove 
with earnest appraisal. The sun 
made lovely shadows among ■ their 
stripped trunks : the world was a beau- 
tiful place. A lingering death, Mac- 
Gregor had intimated — and horrible. 
. . . "Why, sure," he repeated steadily. 

Slisfc Riley shoved him firmly aside - 
to stand *facing MacGregor. 

"Sure, hell I" he said. "I'm your man, 
Mr. MacGregor. ' 

"What do you know about flying?" 
he' asked Cyrus ) Thurston. "You're 
good— for a beginner. But men like 
you two have got brains, and I'm think- 
in' the world will be needin k them. 
Now me,. all I'm good for is holdin' a 
shtick" — his brogue had returned to 
his speech} and was evidence' of his 
'earnestness. , 
"And, besides" — the smile faded 
from his lips, and his voice was sud- 
denly soft— "them boys we saw take 
their last flip was just pilots to you, 
just a bunch of good fighters. Wall, 
they're buddies of mine. I fought be- 
side some of them in Prance. ... I be- 
long I" 

He grinned happily at Thurston. 
"Besides," he said, "what do you know 
about dog-fights?" 

MacGregor gripped him by the hand. 
"You win," he said. "Report, to Wash- 
ington. The Secretary of War has all 
the dope." 

HE turned to Thurston. "Now for 
you I Get thist. The enemy 
machines almost attacked' New York. 
One of them came low, then went back, 
and the four flashed out of sight 'to- 
ward the west. It is my belief that 
New York is next, but the devils are 
hungry. The beast that attacked us 
was ravenous, remember. They need 
food and lots of it. You will hear of 



184 i -ASTOUNDlr 

i ' 

their feeding, and yoi| can count on 
four days. Keep Riley informed-r- 
that's your job. 

"Now I'm going over the hill., Jf 
this experiment works, there's a chance 
we can repeat it on a larger scale. No 
certainty, but a chancel I'll be back. 
Full v instructions at the hotel 1 in 
case. . . ." He vanished into the scri^b 
growth. 

"Not exactly encouraging," Thurston 
pondered, "but he*B a good man, Mac, 
a good egg I " Not as big a brain as the 
one we saw, but perhaps it's a better 
one— cleaner — and it's working I" 

They were sheltered under the brow 
of the hill, but the blast from the val- 
ley beyond rocked them like an earth- 
quake. They rushed to the top of the 
knoll. MacGregor was standing in the 
valley ; he waved them a greeting and 
shouted something unintelligible. ! 

The gas had mushroomed lrfto a 
cloud of steamy vapor. From above 
came enowflakes to whirl in the churn- 
ing mass, then fall to the ground- A r 
wind came howling about them to' beat 
upon the cloud. It swirled slowly back 
and down the valley; The figure of 
MacGregor vanished in its smothering 
embrace. 

"Exit, MacGregor I" said Cyrus 
Thurston softly. He held tight to the 
struggling figure of Slim Riley. 

"He couldn't . live a minute in that 
atmosphere of hydrogen," he ex- 
plained. "They can— Ithe devils I — but 
not a good egg like Mac. It's our job 
now — yours and mine;" 

Slowly the gas retreated, lifted to 
permit their passage down the slope. 

MACGREGOR was a good 
prophet. Thurston admitted that 
when, four days later, he stood on the 
roof of the Equitable Building in 
lower New York. 

The monsters had fed as predicted. 
Out in Wyoming a desolate area 
marked the place of their meal, where 
a great herd of cattle lay smothered 
and frozen. There were ranch houses, 
too, in the circle of destruction, their 



3 STORIES 

occupants frozen stiff as the*' carcaatei 
that dotted the ' plains. The country 
had stood tense for the following blow. 
Only Thurston had lived in certainty 
of a few days reprieve. And now hid 
come the fourth day. * 

In Washington was Riley. Thurston 
had been in touch with him frequently. 

"Sure, it's a crazy machine," the pilot 
had told him, "and 'tis not much I 
think of it at all. Neither bullets nor 
guns, just this big glass contraption 
and speed. She's fast, man, she's fast 
. . but it's little hope I have." And 
Thurston, remembering the scientist*! 
words, was heartless and sick with 
dreadful certainty. j 

There were aircraft ready near New 
York; it was generally felt that here 
was the next objective. The enemy 
had looked it over carefully. And 
Washington, too, was guarded. The 
nation's capital must receive what little 
help the aircraft could afford. 

There were other cities waiting for' 
destruction. If not this time — Uteri 
The horror hung over them all. 

THE fourth day I And Thurston 
was suddenly certain of the fate 
of New York. He hurried to a tele- 
phone. Of the Secretary of War bt 
implored assistance. 

"Send your planes," he begged. 
"Here's where we will get it neit 
Send Riley. Let's make a last stand 
— win or lose." 

"I'll give you a squadron," was the 
concession. "What difference whether 
they die there or here .{, ?" The voice 
was that of a weary man, Weary andl 
sleepless and hopeless. 

"Good-by Cy, old, man I" The dick 
of the receiver sounded in Thurston'i 
ear. He returned to the roof for hit! 
vigil. 

To wait, to stride nervously back 
and forth in impotent expectancy. He 
cpuld leave, go out into, open country] 
but what were a few days or months-) 
or a year — with this horror upon them? 
It was the end. MacGregor was rightj 
"Good old Mac I" 



SPAWN OF 

There were airplanes roaring over- 
bead. It meant . . . Thurston abruptly 
was cold ; a chill gripped at his heart. 

The ' paroxysm passed. He was 
doubled- with laughter-— or was it he 
who was laughing? He was suddenly 
buoyantly carefree. Who was he that, 
it mattered ? Cyrus Thurston — an ant I 
And their ant-lull was about to tie 
snuffed out. ... < 

He walked over to a waiting' group 
and clapped one man on the shoulder. 
"Well, how does it feel to be an ant?" 
he inquired and laughed loudly at the 
jest. "You and your millions of dol- 
lars, your acres of factories, your 
steamships, railroads!" 

The man looked at him strangely and 
edged cautiously away. His eyes, like 
those of the others, had a dazed, 
stricken look. A woman was sobbing 
softly as she clung to her husband. 
From the streets far below came a qua- 
vering shrillness of sound. 

The planes gathered in climbing 
'circles. Far on the horizon were four 
tiny glinting specks. . . . 

T HURSTON stared until his eyes 
were stinging. He was walking in 
s waking sleep as he made his way to 
the stone coping beyond which was 
the street far below. He was dead — 
dead I — right this minute. What were 
a few minutes more or less? He could 
climb over the coping; none of the 
huddled, fear-gripped group would 
•top him . He could step out into space 
and fool them, the devils.' They could 
never kill him. . . . 

What was it MacGregor had said? 
Good egg, MacGregarl "But we can 
die fighting. . . ." Yes, that was it — 
die fighting. But he couldn't fight; he, 
could only wait. Well, what were the 
ethers doing, down there in the streets 
—in their homes? He could wait with 
them, die with them. . . . 

He straightened slowly and drew one 
long breath. He looked steadily and 
unafraid at the advancing specks. 
They were larger now. He could fee 
their round forms. The planes were 



THE STARS 1 165 

less noisy: they were far up in the 
heights— climbing^— climbing. 

The bulbs came slantingly down. 
They were separating. Thurston won- 
dered vaguely. 

What had they done in Berlin? Yes, 
he remembered. Placed themselves. at 
the four corners of a great square and 
wiped, out the whole city in one explo- 
sion. Four bombs dropped at the same 
instant while they shot up to safety in 
the thin air. How did they communi- 
cate? Thought transference, most 
likely. Telepathy between those great'] 
brains, one to another. A plane-was 
falling. It curved and swooped in a 
trail of flame, then fell straight toward 
the earth. They were fighting. . . . 
M 

THURSTON stared above. There 
were * clusters of planes diving 
down from on high. Machine-guns 
stuttered faintly. "Machine-guns — 
toys I Brave, that was it I 'We can die 
fighting.' " His thoughts were far off s 
it was like listening to another's mind. 

The air was-' filled with swelling 
clouds. {He saw them before the blast 
struck where he stood. The great 
building shuddered at the impact. 
There were things falling from the 
-clouds, wrecks of planes, blazing and 
shattered. Still came others; he saw 
them faintly through the clouds. They 
came in from the, West; they had gone 
far to gain altitude. ' They drove«down 
from the heights — the enemy had drift- 
ed — they were over the bay. ' 

More clouds, and another blast thun- 
dering at the oity. There were specks, 
Thurston saw,. falling into thp water. 

Again the invaders came down from 
the heights where they had escaped 
their own shattering attack. There was 
the faint roar of motors behind, from 
the south. The squadron from Wash- 
ington passed overhead. 

They surely had seen the fate that 
awaited. And they drove on to the at- 
tack, to strike at an enemy that shot 
instantly into the sky leaving crashing 
destruction about the torn dead. 
"Now I" said Cyrus Thurston aloud. 



186 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



THE big bulbs were back. They 
floated easily in the air, a plume of. 
vapor billowing beneath. They were 
ranging to the four corners of a great 
square. 

One plane only was left, coming in' 
from the south, a lone straggler, late 
for the fray. One plane! Thurston's 
shoulders sagged heavily. All they had 
left I It went swiftly overhead. . . 
It was fast — fast. Thurston suddenly 
knew. It was Riley in that plane. 

"Co back, you fool I" — he was scream- 
ing at the top of his voice — "Back — 
back — you poor, damned, decent Irish- 
man 1" ! 

Tears were streaming down his face. 
"His buddies," Riley had said. And 
this was Riley, driving swiftly in, 
alone, to avenge them. ... 

He saw dimly as the swift plane sped 
over the first bulb, on and over the sec- 
ond. The soft roar of gas from the 
machines drowned the sound of his en- 
gine. The plane passeid them in si-, 
lence to bank sharply toward the third 
Corner of the forming square. 

He was looking them over, Thurston 
thought. And the damn beasts disre- 
garded so contemptible an opponent. 
He could still leave. "For Cod's sake," 
Riley, beat it — escape I" 

Thurston's mind was solely on ■ the 
fate of the lone voyager— until the Im- 
possible was borne in upon him. 

The square was disrupted. Three 
great bulbs were now drifting. The 
wind was carrying them out toward the 
bay. They were coming down in a 
long, smooth descent. The plane shot 
like a winged rocket at the fourth 
great, shining ball. To the watcher, 
aghast with sudden hope, it seemed 
barely to crawl. 

"The ray I The ray. ." Thurston 
saw as if straining eyes had pierced 
through the distance to see the invisi- 
ble. He saw from below the swift plane 
the streaming, intangible ray. That 
was why Riley had flown closely past 
and above them — the ray poured from 
below. His throat was choking him, 
strangling. ... 



THE last enemy took alarm. Had It 
Been the 1 slow sinking of its com- 
panions, failed to hear them in reply 
to his mental call? The shining pear 
shape shot violently upward; the at- 
tacking plant rolled to a vertical bank 
as it missed the threatening clouds of 
exhaust. "What do you know' about 
dog-fights?" And Riley had grinned 
. . . Riley belonged I 

The bulb swelled before Thurston's 
eyes in its swift descent. It canted to 
one side to head off the struggling 
plane that could never escape, did not 
try to escape. The steady wings held 
true upon their straight course. ' From 
above came the silver meteor ; it seemed 
striking at the very plane itself. It was 
almost upon it before it belched forth 
the cushioning blast of gas. 

Through the forming clouds a plane 
bored in swiftly. It rolled slowly, was 
flying upside down. It was under the 
r enemy I Its ray. . . . Thurston was 
thrown a score of feet away to crash 
helpless into the stone coping by the 
thunderous crash of the explosion. 

There were fragments falling from a 
dense cloud — fragments of curved and 
silvery metal . . . the wing of a plane 
danced and fluttered in the air. . . . 

"He fired its bombs," whispered 
Thurston in a shaking voice. "He 
killed the other devils where they lay 
— he destroyed this with its own explo- 
sive. He flew upside down to shoot up 
with the ray, to set off its shells. . . ." 

His mind was fumbling with the nfif^ 
acle of it. "Clever pilot, Riley, in ■ 
dog-fight. . ." And then he realized. 

Cyrus Thurston, millionaire sports- 
man, sank slowly, numbly to the roof 
of the Equitable Building -that still 
stood. And New York was still there 
. . and the whole world. . . . 
He sobbed weakly, brokenly. 
Through his dazed brain flashed a sud- 
den, mind-saving thought. He laughed 
foolishly through his sobs. 

"And you said he'd die horribly, Mac, 
a horrible death." His head dropped 
upon his arms, unconscious — and safe 
— with the rest of humanity. 




// was a corpse, standing before me like somp propped-mp thimg 
if^m the grave. 

The Corpse on the Crating 



i 



By Hugh B. Cave 



IT was ten o'clock on the morning 
of December 5 when M. S. and I 
left the study of Professor 
Daimler. You are perhaps ac- 
quainted with M. S. His name appears 
constantly in the pages of the Illus- 
trated News, in conjunction with some 
.very technical ar- 
ticle on psycho- 
analysis or with 
10 me extensive 
study of the hu- 
man brain and its 
functions. He is 
t psycho-fanatic, more or less, and 
has spent an entire lifetime of some 
seventy-odd years in pulling apart 
human skulls for the purpose of in- 
vestigation. Lovely pursuit! 

For some twenty years I have 
mocked him, in a friendly, half-hearted 



la the gloomy depth* of the old ware- 
house Dele sew a thing that drew a 
•cream of horror to hit dry lipa. It was 
a corpse — the mold of decay on it* long- 
dead featum — and yet it wai alive I 



187 



fashion. I am a medical, man, and my 
own profession -is one that does not 
symphathize with radicals. 

As for Professor Daimler, the third 
member of our triangle — perhaps, if I 
take a moment to outline the events of 
that evening, the Professor's part in 
what follows will 
be less obscure. 
We had called on 
him, M. S. and I, 
at his urgent re- 
quest. . His rooms 
were in a narrow, 
unlighted street just off the square, 
and Daimler himself optned the door 
to us. A tall, loosely built chap he 
was, standing in the doorway like a 
motionless ape, arms half extended. 

"I've summoned you, gentlemen," he 
said quietly, "because you two, of all 



188 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



London, are the. only persons who 
know the nature of my recent experi- 
ments. I should like to acquaint you 
with (he results!" 

He led the way to his study, then 
kicked the door shut with his foot, 
seizing my arm as he did so. Quietly 
he dragged me to the table that stood 
against the' farther wall. In the same 
"even, unemotional toAe of a man com- 
pietely'sure of himself, he commanded 
me to inspect it. 

For a moment, in the semi-gloom! of 
the room, I saw nothing. At length, 
however, the contents of the table re- 
vealed themselves, and I distinguished 
a motley collection of test tubes, each 
filled with some fluid. The tubes were 
attached to each other by some in- 
genious arrangement of thistles, and 
at the end of the table, where a chance 
blow could not brush it -aside, lay a 
tiny phiaW of the resulting seriim. 
From the appearance of the table, , 
Daimler had evidently > drawn a cer- 
tain, amount of gas from each of the 
smaller tubes, distilling! them throiigh 
acid into the minute phial at the end. 
Vet even now, as I' stared down at the 
fantastic paraphernalia before me, I 
could sense no conclusive reason for * 
its existence. 

I turned to the Professor with a 
quiet stare of bewilderment. He 
smiled. 

"The experiment is over," he s^id. 
"As to its conclusion, you. Dale, as a 
medical man, will be sceptical. And 
you" — turning to M: S, — "as_ a scien- 
tist you will be amazed. I, being nei- 
ther physician nor scientist, am merely ' 
filled with wonder I" 

HE stepped to a long, square table- 
like structure in the center of 
the room. Standing over it, he glanced 
quizztcallyaat M. S., then at roe. 

"For a period of two weeks," he 
went on, "I have kept, on the table 
here, the .body of a man who has been 
dead more than a month. I have tried, 
gentlemen, with acid combinations of, 
my own origination, to bring that body 



back to life. And ... I have— failedl 

"But," he added quickly, noting the 
smile .that crept across my face, "that 
failure was in itself worth more than 
the average scientist's greatest achieve* 
mentl You know, Dale, that heat, if 
a man is not truly dead, will some, 
times resurrect him. In a qa.se of epi- 
lepsy, for instance, victims have been 
pronounced dead only to'Veturn to life 
— sometimes in the grave. 

"I say 'if a man be not truly, dead.' 
But what if that man Vs truly dead? 
Docs the cure alter itself in any man- 
ner? The motor of your car dies- 
do you bury it? You do not; you lo- 
cate the faulty part, correct it, and in- 
fuse i new life. , And so, gentlemen, 
afte.r remedying the ruptured heart of 1 
this dead man, by operation, I pro- 
ceeded to bring him back to life. 

"I used heat. Terrific heat will 
sometimes originate a spark of new life 
in something long dead. Gentlemen, 
on the fourth day of my tests, follow- 
ing a continued application of electric 
and acid heat, the patient — " 

Daimfcr leaned over- the table and 
took up a cigarette. Lightning it, he 
dropped the match and resumed his 
monologue. 

"The patient turned suddenly over 
and drew his arm weakly across his 
eyes. I rushed to his side. When I 
reached him, the body was once again 
stiff and lifeless. And — it has remained 



The Professor stared at us quietly, 
waiting for comment. I answered 
him, as carelessly as I could, with a 
shrug of my shoulders. 

"Professor, have you ever played 
with the dead body of a frog?" I said 
softly. 

HE shook his head silently. 
"You would find it interest- 
ing sport," I told him. "Take a com- 
mon dry cell battery with enough volt- 
age to render a sharp shock. Then ap- 
ply your wires to various parts of the 
frog's anatomy. If you are lucky, and 
strike the right set of muscles, you 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING 



189 



will have the pleasure of seeing a dead 
frog leap suddenly t forward. Under- 
stand, he will not regain life. You' 
have merely released his dead muscles 
by shock, and sent him bolting." -. 

The Professor did not reply. I could 
feel his eyes on me, and had I turned, 
I should probably had found M. S. 
glaring at me in honest hate. These 
men were students of mesmerism, of 
spiritualism, and-my commonplace con- 
tradiction was not over welcome. 
" "You are cynical, Dale," said M. S. 
coldly, "because you do not under- 
stand!" 

"■Understand ? I am a doctor — not a 
ghost I" 

But M. S. had turned eagerly to the 
Professor. 

"Where if . this body — this experi- 
ment?" he demanded. 

Daimler shook his head. Evidently 
he had acknowledged failure and did 
not intend to drag his dead man be- 
fore our eyes, unless he could bring 
that man forth alive, upright, and ready 
to join our conversation I 
, "I've put it away," he said distantly. 
"There is nothing more to be done, 
now that our reverend doctor has in- 
sisted in making a matter of fact thing 
out of our experiment. • You under- 
stand, I had not intended to go in for 
wholesale resurrection, even if I had 
met with success. It was my belief 
that a dead body, like a dead piece of 
mechanism, can be brought to life 
again, provided we are intelligent 
enough to discover the secret. And by 
Cod, it is still my belief I" 

THAT was the situation, _then, 
when M. S. and I paced slowly 
back along the narrow street that con- 
tained the Professor's dwelling-place. 
My companion was strangely silent. 
More than once I felt his eyes upon 
me in an uncomfortable stare, yet he 
said nothing. Nothing, that is, until 
I had opened the conversation with 
some casual remark about the lunacy 
of the man we had just left. 
"You are wrong in mocking him. 



Dale," M. S. replied bitterly. "Daim- 
ler is a man of science. He is no child, 
experimenting with, a toy; he is a 
grown man who has the courage to 
believe in his powers. One of these 
days. . ." 

He had intended to say that some 
day I should respect the Professor's 
efforts. One of these days I The in- 
terval of time was far shorter than 
anything so indefinite. The firsi event, 
with* its succeeding series of horrors, 
came vrithin the next three minutes. 

WE had reached a more deserted 
section of the square, a black, 
uninhabited street extending like a 
shadowed band of darkness between 
gaunt, high walls. ,1 had noticed for 
some time that the stone structure be- 
side us seemed to be unbroken by door 
or Window — that it appeared to be a 
single gigantic building, black and for- 
bidding.. I mentioned the fact to M. S. 

"The warehouse," he said simply. "A 
lonely, Gfd-forsaken place. We shall 
probably see the flicker of the watch- 
man's light in one of the upper chinks." 

At his words, I glanced up." True 
enough, the higher part of the grim 
structure was punctured by narrow, 
barred openings. Safety vaults, prob- 
ably. But the light, unless its tiny 
(learn was somewhere in 'the inner re- 
cesses of the warehouse, was dead. 
The great building was like an im- 
mense burial vault, a tomb — silent and 
lifeless. 

We had reached the most forbidding 
section of the narrow street, where a 
single arch-lamp overhead cast a halo 
of ghastly yellow light over the pave- 
ment. At the very rim of the circle 
of illumination, where the shadows, 
were deeper and more silent, I could 
make out the black mouldings of a 
heavy iron grating. The bars of metal 
were designed, I Vjelieve, to seal the 
side entrance of the great warehouse 
from night marauders. It was bolted 
in place and secured with a set of im- 
mense chains, immovable. 

This much I saw as my intent gaze 



190 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



■wept the wall before me. This huge 
tombjof silence held for me a peculiar 
fascination, and as, I paced along be- 
side my gloomy companion, I stared 
directly ahead of me into the darkness 
of the street. I wish to God my «yes 
had. been closed or blinded I '■ 

HE was hanging on the grating. 
Hanging there,,'* with white, 
twisted hands clutching the' rigid bars 
of iron, straining to force them apart. 
His whole distorted body was forced 
against the barrier, like the form of 
a madman struggling to escape from 
his cage. His face — the image of it 
still haunts me whenever I see iron 
bars in the darkness of a passage — was 
the face of a man who has died from 
utter, stark horror. It was frozen in 
a silent shriek, of agony, staring out 
at me with fiendish maliciousness. Lips / 
twisted apart. White teeth gleaming 
in the light. Bloody eyes, with a hor- 
rible glare of colorless pigment. And 
—dead. 

I believe M. S. saw him at the very 
'instant I recoiled. I felt a sudden grip 
on my arm; and then, as an exclama- 
tion 1 came harshly from my compan- 
ion's lips, I was pulled forward rough- 
ly. I found myself staring straight 
into the dead eyes of that fearful thing 
before me, found myself standing rigid; 
motionless, before the corpse that hung 
within reach of my arm. 

And then, through that overwhelm- 
ing sense of the horrible, came the 
quiet voice of my comrade— the voice 
of a man who looks upon death as 
nothing more than an opportunity for. 
research. 

"The fellow has been frightened to 
death, Dale. Frightened most hor- 
ribly.' Note the expression of his 
mouth, the evident struggle to force 
these bars apart and escape. Something 
has driven fear to his soul, killed him." 

I REMEMBER the words vaguely. 
When M, S. had finished speaking, 
I did not reply. Not until he had 
stepped forward and bent over the dls- 



'torted face of the thing before me, did 
I attempt to speak. When I did, my 
thoughts were a jargon. 

"What, in God's name," I cried, 
"could have brought, such horror to i 
strong man? What — ■" 

"Loneliness, perhaps," suggested M, 
S. with a smile. "The fellow is evi- 
dently the watchman. He is alone, in 
a huge, deserted pit of darkness, for 
hours at a time. His light is merely 
a ghostly ray of illumination, hardly 
enough ,to do more than increase the 
darkness. I have heard of snch cases 
before." 

He shrugged his shoulders. Even as 
he spoke, I sensed the evasion in his 
words. When I replied, he hardly 
heard my answer, for he had suddenly 
stepped forward, where he .could look 
directly into those fear twisted eyes. 

"Dale," he\ said at length, turning 
slowly to face me, "you ask for in 
explanation of this horror T There is 
an explanation. It is written with an 
almost fearful clearness on this fel- 
low's mind. Yet if I tell you, you will 
return to your old skepticism — your 
damnable habit of disbelief I" 

I looked at him quietly. I had- heard 
M. S. claim, at other times, that he : 
"could read -the thoughts of a dead man 
by the mental image that lay on that 
men's brain. I had^laughed at him. 
Evidently, in the present moment, he 
recalled those laughs. -Nevertheless, he 
faced me seriously. 

"I can see two things. Dale," he said 
deliberately. "One of them is a darjf, 
narrow room — a room piled with indis- 
tinct boxes and crates, and with an 
open door bearing the black number 
4167. And in that open doorway, com- 
ing forward with slow steps — alive, 
With arms extended and a frightful 
face of passion — is a decayed human 
form. A corpse, Dale. A man who. 
has been, dead for inany days, and is 
now — alive!" j 

MS. turned slowly and pointed 
< with upraised hand to the, 
corpse on the grating. 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING 



191 



"That is why," he said simply, "this 
fellow died from horror." 

His words died into emptiness. For 
I moment I stared at Him. Then, in 
spite of our surroundings, in spite -of 
the Sate hour, the loneliness of the 
street, the awful thing beside us, I 
laughed. 

He turned upon me with a snarl. For 
the first fime in my life I saw M. S. 
convulsed with rage. His old, lined 
face had suddenly become savage with 
intensity. 

"You laugh at me, Dale," he thun- * 
dered. "By God, you make a mockery 
out of a science that I have spent more 
than my life in studyingl__Yj>u call 
yourself -a medical man — and you are 
not fit to carry- the name t I will wager 
jpu, man, that your laughter 1 is not 
backed by courage I" 

I fell away from him. Had I stood 
within reach, I am sure he would have 
struck me. Struck met And I have 
been nearer to M. S. for the past ten 
years than any man in London. And 
as I retreated from his temper, he 
reached forward to seize my arm. I 
could not help but feel impressed at 
bis grim intentness. 

"Look here. Dale," he said bitterly, 
"I will wager you a hundred pounds 
that you will not spend the remainder 
of this night in the warehouse above 
yout I will, wager a hundred pounds' 
against your own courage that you will 
not back your laughter, by going 
through what this fellow has gone 
through. That you will not prowl 
through the corridors of this great 
structure until you have found room 
4167 — and remain in that room until 
Jawnt" 

THERE was no -choice. I glanced 
at the dead man, at the face of 
fear and the clutching, twisted hands, 
and a cold dread filled me. But to re- 
fuse my friend's wager "Would have 
been to brand myself an empty coward. 
I had mocked him. Now, whatever the 
cost, I must stand ready to pay for that 
mockery. 



"Room 4167 ?" I replied' quietly, in a 
voice which I made every effort to con- 
trol, lest he should discover the tremor 
in it. "Very well, I will do it J" 

It was nearly midnight when I found 
myself alone, climbing a musty, wind- 
ing ramp between the first and second 
floors of the deserted building. Not a 
sound, except the sharp intake of my 
breath and the dismal creak of the 
wooden stairs, echoed through that 
tomb of death. There was no light, 
not even the usual dim glow that is left 
to illuminate an unused corridor. 
Moreover, I had brought no means of 
light with me — nothing but/ a half 
empty box of safety matches Which, by 
some unholy premonition, I had forced 
myself to save for some future mo- 
ment. . The stairs were black and diffi- 
cult, and I mounted them slowly, grop- 
ing with both hands, along the rough 
wall. 

I had left M. S. some few moments 
before. In his usual decisive manner 
he had helped me to climb the iron 
grating and lower myself to the sealed 
alley-way on. the farther side. Then, 
leaving him without a word, for I was 
bitter against the triumphant tone of 
his parting words, I proceeded into the 
darkness, fumbling forward until I had 
discovered the open door in the lower 
part of the warehouse. 

And then the ramp, winding crazily 
upward — upward — upward, seemingly 
without end. I was seeking blindly 
for that particular room which was to 
be my destination. Room 4167, with 
its high number, could hardly be on 
the 'lower floors,, and sd I had stum- 
bled upward. . . 

IT was at the entrance of the second 
floor corridor that I struck the first 
of my desultory supply ' of matches, 
and by its light discovered a placard 
nailed to the wall. The thing was yel- 
low with age and hardly legible. In 
the drab light of the match I had diffi- 
culty in reading it — but, as far as I can 
remember, the notice went something 
'like this: 



192 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



WAREHOUSE RULES 

1. No light shall be permitted in 
any room or corridor, as a pre- 
vention against fire. 

2. No person shall be admitted to 
rooms or corridors unless ac- 
companied by an employee. 

3. A watchman shall be on the 
premises from 7 P. M. until 
6 A. M. He shall make the 
round of the corridors every 
hour duting that interval, at a 
Quarter past the hour. 

4. Rooms are located by their 
' numbers: the first figure in the 

room number indicating its 
floor location. ./ 

I could read no further. The match 
in my fingers burned to a black thread 
and dropped. Then,<toith the burnt 
•tump still in my' hand, I groped 
through the darkness to the bottom of 
the second ramp. 

Room 4167, then, was on the fourth 
floor — the topmost floor of the struc- 
ture. I must confess that the knowl- 
edge did not bring any renewed burst 
of courage*- The top floor! Three 
black stair-pits would lie between me 
and the safety of escape. There would 
be no escape I No human being in the 
throes of fear could hope to discover 
that tortured outlet, could hope to 
grope v his way through Stygian gloom 
down a triple ramp of black stairs. 
And even though he succeeded in 
reaching the lower corridors, there was 
still a blind alley-way, sealed at the 
outer end by a high grating of iron 
bars. . . . 

ESCAPE! The mockery of it 
caused me to stop suddenly in my 
ascent and stand rigid, my whole body 
trembling violently. 

But outside, in the gloom of the 
street, M. S. was waiting, waiting with 
that fiendish glare of triumph that 
would brand me a man without cour- 
age. I could not return to face him, 
not though all the horrors of hell in- 
habited this gruesome place of mys- 



tery. And horrors must surely inhabit 
it, else how could one account for that 
fearful thing on the 'grating below? 
But I had been through Jiorror before. 
I had seen a man, supposedly dead on 
the operating table, jerk suddenly to 
his feet ' and scream. I had seen a 
young girl/ n6t long before, awake in 
the midst of an operation, With the 
knife already in her frail body. Surely, 
after those definite horrors, no un- 
known danger would send me cringing 
back to the man who was waiting so 
bitterly for me to return. 

Those were the thoughts pregnant 
in my mind as I groped slowly, cau- 
tiously along the corridor of the upper 
floor,- searching each closed door for 
the indistinct number 4167. The place 
was like the center of a huge labyrinth, 
a spider-web of black, repelling pas- 
sages, leading into some^ central cham- 
ber of utter silence and blackness. I 
went ' forward with dragging steps, 
fighting back the dread that gripped 
me as I went farther and farther from 
the outlet of escape. And then, after 
losing myself completely in the gloom, 
I tbr^vr aside all thoughts of return 
and pushed on with a careless, surface 
bravado, and laughed aloud. 

SO, at length, I reached that room 
of horror, secreted high in the 
deeper recesses of the deserted ware- 
house. The number — God grant I 
never see it again! — was scrawled in 
black chalk on the 'door — 4167. I 
pushed the half-open barrier wide, and 
entered. 

It was a small room, even as M. S. 
had forewarned me— or as the dead 
mind of that] thing on the grate had 
forewarned . M. S. The glow of my 
out-thrust match revealed a great stack 
of dusty boxes and crates, piled against 
the. farther walL Revealed, too, the 
black corridor beyond the' entrance, and 
a small, upright table before me. 

It was the table, and the stool beside 
it, that drew my attention and brought 
a muffled exclamation from my lips. 
The thing had been thrust out of its 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING 



193 



jih.i place, pushed aside as if some 
frenzied shape had lunged against it. 
I could make out its former position 
|y the marks on the dusty floor at my 
bet Now it was nearer to the center 
of the. room, and had been wrenched 
pdewise from its holdings. A'shud- 
■er took hold of me aB I lqoked at it. 
A living person, sitting on the stool 
before me, staring at the door, would 
brre wrenched the table in just this 
■nicer in his frenzy to escape from 
Ac room! 

THE. light of the match died, 
plunging 'me into a pit of gloom, 
I struck another and stepped closer to 
the table. < And there, on the floor, 
I found two more things that brought 
fear to my soul. One of them was a 
heavy " flash-lamp — a watchman's lamp 
—where it had evidently been dropped. 
Been dropped in flight I But what aw- 
fol terror must have gripped the fel- 
tm to make him forsake his only 
oeans of' escape through those black 
outages? And the second thing — a 
worn copy of a leather-bound book, 
long open on the 'boards below the 
■tool I 

The flash-lamp,' thank God I had not 
been shattered. I switched it on, di- 
lecting its white circle of light over 
Ac room. This time, in the vivid glare, 
the room became even more unreal. 
Black walls, clumsy, distorted shadows 
tithe wall, thrown by those huge piles 
of wooden boxes. Shadows that were 
tike crouching men, groping toward 
me. And beyond, where the single 
door opened into a passage of Stygian 
darkness, that yawning entrance was 
thrown into hideous detail. Had any 
■plight figure been standing there, the 
light would have made an unholy phos- 
phorescent Specter out of it. 

I summoned enough courage to cross 
the room and pull the door shut. There 
ns ho way of locking it. Had I been 
•hie to fasten it, 1 should surely have 
done lo ; but the room was evidently 
a> nauted chamber, filled with empty 
■fate. This was the reason, probably, 



why the watchman had made use of it 
as a retreat during the intervals be- 
tween his rounds. 

But I had no desire to ponder over 
the sordidness of my surroundings. I 
returned to my stool in silence, and 
stooping, picked up .the fallen book 
fcom the floor. Carefully I placed the 
lamp on the table, where its light would 
shine on the open page. Then, turn; 
ing the cover, I began to glance 
through the thing which the man be- 
fore me had evidently been studying. 
" ' And before I had read two lines, the 
explanation of the whole horrible thing 
struck me. I stared dumbly down at 
the little book and laughed. Laughed 
harshly, so that the Sound of my mad 
cackle echoed in a thousand ghastly re- 
verberations through the dead corri- 
dors of the building. 

IT was a book of horror, of fantasy. 
A collection of werrd, terrifying, 
supernatural tales with grotesque il- 
lustrations in funereal black and white. 
And the very line I had turned to, the 
line which had probably struck terror 
to that unlucky devil's soul, explained 
M. S.'e "decayed human form, stand- 
ing in the doorway with arms extended 
and a frightful face of passion!" The 
description — the same description— lay 
before me, almost in my. friend's words. 
Little wonder that the fellow on the 
grating below, after reading this orgy 
of horror, had suddenly gone mad with 
fright. Little wonder that the picture 
engraved on his dead mind was a pic- 
ture of a corpse standing in the door- 
way of room 4167 ! 

I. glanced at that doorway and 
laughed. No doubt of it, it was that 
awful description in M. i S.'s- untem- 
pered language that had made me dread 
my surroundings, not the loneliness 
and silence of the corridors about me. 
,. Now, as I stared at the room, the closed 
door, the shadows on the wall, I could 
not repress a grin. , 

But the grin' was not long in 'dura- 
tion. A six-hour siege awaited me be- 
fore I could 'hear the sound of human 



194 



ASTOUNDING 'STORIES 



voice again — six hours of silence and 
gloom. I did not relish it. Thank Cod 
the fellow before me had had foresight 
enough to leave his book of fantasy 
for my amusement I 

1 TURNED to the beginning of the 
story. A lovely beginning it was, 
outlining in some detail how a certain 
Jack Fulton, English adventurer, had 
suddenly found himself imprisoned (by 
a mysterious blacjr gang of monks, or 
something of the sort) in a forgotten 
cell at the monastery of El Totcj. The 
cell, according to the pages before me, 
was located in the "empty, haunted pits 
below the stone floors of the structure. 
. . . Lovely setting 1 And the brave 
Fulton bad been secured firmly to a 
huge metal ring set in the farther wall, 
opposite the entrance. 

I read the description twice. At the 
end of it I could not help but lift my 
head to stare at my own surroundings. 
Except for the location of the cell, I 
might have been in the same setting. 
The same darkness, same silence, same 
loneliness. Peculiar similarity I 

And then: "Fulton lay quietly, 
without attempt to struggle. In the 
dark, the stillness of the vaults became 
unbearable, terrifying. Not a sugges- 
tion of sound, except the scraping of 
unseen rats — " 

I dropped the book with a start. 
From the opposite end of the room in\ 
which I sat came a half inaudible scuf- 
fling noise — the sound of hidden ro- 
dents scrambling through the great pile 
of boxes. Imagination ? I am not sure. 
At the moment, V would have- sworn 
that the sound was a definite One, that 
I had heard it distinctly. Now, as I 
recount this tale of horror, I am not 
sure. 

But I am sure of this: There. Was 
no smile on my lips as I pi<ke<"j Up 
tie book again with trembling fingers 
and continued. i 

"The sound died into silence. For 
an eternity, the prisoner lay rigid, star- 
ing at the open door of his cell. The 
opening was black, deserted, like the' 



mouth of a deep tunnel, 1 leading t» 
hell. And then, suddenly, from tfe 
gloom beyond that opening, came s| 
almost noiseless, padded footfall V 

THIS time there was no doubt tf 
it. . The book fell from my finger^ 
dropped to the floor with a clatttt 
Yet even through thej)ound of its fa]); 
ing, I heard that fearful SQund-Ubj 
shuffle* of. a living footr* I sat motion- 
less, staring with bloodless face at tW 
door of room 4167. And as I stare)! 
the sound came again, and again— tH* 
slow tread of dragging footsteps, if. 
proaching along the black corridor 
without! 

I got to my feet like an automaton, 
Swaying heavily. Every drop of cour- 
age ebbed from my soul .as I stool 
'there, one hand clutching the table, 
waiting. . . . 

And then, with an effort, I mores, 
forward. My hand was outstretchtij 
to grasp the wooden handle of tfct 
door. And — I did not have the cour- 
age. Like a oowed beast I crept back 
to my place and slumped down on tat 
stool, my eyes still transfixed in a mute': 
stare of terror. 

I waited. For more than half m 
hour I waited, motionless. Not a sons' 
stirred in the passage beyond that 
closed barrier. Not a suggestion of 1 
any living presence came to me. The* ! 
leaning back against the wall with i ' 
harsh laugh, I wiped away the. cols' 
moisture that had trickled over mf 
forehead into my eyes. 

It was another five minutes before I 
picked up the book again. You call Be 
a fool for continuing it? A fool? I 
te"l you, even a story of horror is dob 
comfort that a room of grotesqat 
shidows and silence. Even a printed 
page is better than grim reality V 

AND so I read on. The story wm 
one of suspense, madness. For 
the next two pages I read a cunning 
description of the; prisoner's menol 
reaction. Strangely enSngh, it cos- 
formed precisely with my own, 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING 



195 



"Fulton's head had fallen to his 
chest," the script read., "For an end- 
Jess while lie did not stir, did not dare 
to lift his eyes. And then, after more 
than an hour of silent agony and 
dispense, the boy's head came up 
mechanically, 
jerked rigid. 

from his dry lips as he stared — stared 
like a dead man — at the black entrance 
to his cell. There, standing without 
gwtion 'in the opening, stood* a 
ihrouded figure of death. Empty eyes, 
flaring with awful hate, bored into his 
own. Great arms, bony and rotten, ex- 
tended toward him. Decayed flesh — " 
I read no more. Even as I lunged to 
my feet, with that mad book still 
(ripped in my hand, I heard the door 
of my room grind open. I screamed, 
■creamed in utter horror at the thing 
I aw there. Dead ? Good God, I do 
not know. It was a corpse, a dead 
■moan body, standing before me like 
■erne propped-up thing from the grave. 
A face half eaten away, terrible in its 
leering grin. Twisted mouth, with 
only a suggestion of lips, curled back 
over broken teeth. Hair — writhing, 
distorted — like a mass of moving, 
bloody coils. And its arms, ghastly 
white, bloodless, were extended toward 
Be, with open, clutching hand's. 



to throw a circle of white glare over 
the decayed, living-dead intruder who 
had driveri me mad. 

My return down those winding 
ramps to the lower floor was a night- 
mare of fear. I remember that I stum- 
Came up— and suddenly ' bled, that I plunged through die 
A horrible scream burst darkness like a man gone mad. J/had 
no thought of caution, no thought of 
anything except escape. 

And then the lower door, and the 
alley of gloom. I reached the grating, 
flung myself upon it and pressed my 
face against the bars in a futile effort 
to escape. The same — as the fear-tor- 
tured man — who had— come before — 
me. 

I felt strong hands lifting me up. A 
dash of cool' air, and then the refresh- 
ing patter of falling rain. 



IT was alive 1 Alive! Even, while I 
stood there, crouching against the 
will, it stepped forward toward me. 
I taw a heavy shudder pass over it, 
and the sound of its scraping feet 
homed its way into my soul. And 
then, with its second step, the fearful 
thing stumbled to its knees. The white, 
glesming arms, thrown into streaks of 
Bring fire by >the - light of my lamp, 
nang violently upwards, twisting to- 
ward the ceiling. I saw the grin change 
to an expression of agony, of torment. 
And then the thing crashed upon me — 
dead. 

With a great cry of fear I stumbled 
to the door. I groped out of that room 
of horror, stumbled along the corridor. 
So light, I left it behind, on the table, 



IT was the afternoon of the follow- 
ing -day, December 6, when M. S. 
sat across the table from me in my own 
study. I had made a rather hesitant 
attempt to tell him, without dramatics 
and without dwelling on my own lack 
of courage, of the events of the previ- 
ous night. 

"You deserved it, Dale," he said 
quietly. "You are a medical man, noth- 
ing more, and yet you mock the be- 
\^ liefs of a scientist as gretft as Daimler. 
\I wonder — do you still mock the 
Professor's beliefs?" 

"That he can bring a' dedd man to 
life?" I smiled, a bit doubtfully. 

"I will tell you something, Dale," 
said M. S. deliberately. He was lean- 
ing across the table, staring at me. "The 
Professor made only one mistake in 
his great experiment. He did not wait 
long enough for the effect of his 
strange acids to work. He acknowl- 
edged failure too soon, and got rid of 
the body." He paused. 

"W^hen the Professor stored his pa- 
tient away, Dale," he said quietly, "he 
stored it in room 4170, at the great 
warehouse. If you are acquainted 
with fhe place, you will know that 
room 4170 is directly across the corri- 
dor from 4167." 




IN a night club of many lights 
and much high-pitched laughter, 
where he had come for an hour 
of forgetfulness and an execrable 
dinner, John Northwood was suddenly 
conscious that Fate had begun shuffling 
the cards of his 
destiny for a dra- 
matic game. 

First, he was 
aware that the 
singularly ugly 
and deformed 



He -had striTen to perfect the faultless 
nun of the future, end had succeeded — 
too wall. For in the pitilessly cold ayes 
of Adam, his super-human creation, Dr. 
Mandson saw only contempt — and anni- 
hilation — for the human race. 



man at the next table was gazing it 
him with an intense, almost excited 
scrutiny. But, more disturbing than 
this, was the scowl of hate on the fate 
of another man, as handsome a* this 
other was hideous, who sat in a far 
corner bidden be- 
hind a broad ctd- 
umn> with rode 
elbows on ' the 
table, gawkinf 
first Jti^North- 
wood anffv the 



196 



Creatures 
of the Light 

By Sophie Wenzel Ellis 



A- 





at the. deformed, almost hideous man. 

Northwood's blood chilled over the 
expression on the handsome, fair-haired 
stringer's perfectly carved face. If a 
figure in marble could display a fierce, 
unnatural passion, it would seem no 
more eldritch than the hate in the icy 
blue eyes. 

It was not a new experience for 
Northwood to be stared at : he was not 
merely a good looking young fellow 
of twenty-five, he was scenery, mag- 
nificent and compelling. Furthermore. 



197 



The projector', belching jortti 
its stinking breath oj corrupt 
lion, swnnc in a mad arc 
over the ceiling, over the 
walls, i . 



he had been in the public eye for years, 
first as a precocious child and, later, 
as a brilliant young scientist. Yet, for 
all his experience with hero worship- 
pers to put an adamantine crust on his 
sensibilities, he grew warm-eared un- 
der the gaze of these two strangers — 
this hunchback with a face like a 
grotesque mask in a Greek play, this 
other who, even handsomer than him- 
self, chilled the blood queerly with the 
cold perfection of his godlike mascu- 
line beauty. 



198 



ASTOUN0ING STORIES 



"F^T ORTHWOOD sensed somethingltback stepped into the waiting tail 



far-Miar about the. hunchback. 
Somewhere he had . seen that huge, 
round, intelligent' lace splattered with 
startling features. The very breadth 
of the man's massive brow was not al- 
together unknown to him, nor could 
Northwood look into the mournful, 
near-sighted black eyes without trying 
to recall when and where he had last 
seen them. 

But this other of the marble-perfect 
nose and jaw, the blond, thick-waved 
hair, was totally *a stranger, whom 
Northwood fervently hoped be would 
nearer know too v/ell. 

Trying to analyze the queer repug- 
nance that he- felt for this handsome, 
boldly staring fellow, Northwood 'de- 
cided: "He's like a newly-made wax 
figure endowed with life." 

Shivering over his own fantastic 
thought, he again glanced Swiftly at 
the hunchback, who he noticed was 
playing with his coffee, evidently to 
prolong the meal. 

.One year of calm-headed scientific 
teaching in a famous old eastern uni- 
versity had not made him callous to 
mysteries. Thus, with a feeling of high 
adventure, he finished hyi supper and 
prepared to got From the corner of his 
eye, he saw the hunchback leave his 
seat, while the handsome man behind 
the column rose furtively, as though 
he,. too, intended to follow. 

Northwood wasr ottt in the dusky 
street about thirty seconds, when the 
hunchback yant from the foyer. With- 
out apparently noticing Northwood, 
he hailed a taxi. For a moment, he 
'stood still, waiting for the taxi.ro pull 
up at the curb. Standing thus, with the 
street light limning every unnatural 
angle of his twisted body and every 
queer abnormality of his huge-jfeatures, 
he looked' almost repulsive.*-* 

On his way to the taxi, his ■ thick 
shoulder jostled the younger man. 
Northwood felt something strike his 
foot, and, stooping in the crowded 
«treet, picked up a black leather wallet. 

"Waitr he shouted as the bunch-. 



h But th,e man did not falter. In a 
moment, Northwood lost sight of hia 
as the taxi moved away. 

HE debated with himself whether 
or not he should attempt to 
follow. And while he stood thus in 
indecision, the handsome stranger ap- 
proached him. 

"Good evening to you," he said curt' 
ly. His rich, musical voice, for all its 
deepness, held a faint hint of the 
tremulous, birdlike notes heard in the 
voice of a 'young child whd has not 
used his vocal chords long enough for 
them to have lost their exquisite new- 
ness. 

"Good evening'," echoed Northwood, 
somewhat uncertainly. A sudden aun 
of repulsion swept coldly over him, 
Seen close, with the brilliant light of 
the street directly on his too perfect 
face, the man was more sinister than a 
the cafe\ Yet Northwood, struggling 
desperately for a reason to explain Us 
violent dislike, could not discover why 
he shrank from this splendid creature, 
whose eyes and flesh had a new, fresh 
appearance rarely seen except in very 
young boys. 

"I want what you picked up," went 
on the stranger. 

"It isn't yours I" Northwood' flashed 
. back. Ah I that effluvium of hatred 
which seemed to weave a .tangible net 
around^him I 

"Norj is it yours. Give it to mef 
' "Youfre insolent, aren't you?" 

"If you don't give it to me*, you will 
be sorry." The man did not raise his 
voice in anger, yet the words whipped 
Northwood with almost physical vis* | 
lence. "If he knew" that I saw every* > 
thing that happened in there — that I 
am talking to you at this moment— it ' 
would tremble with fear." 

"But you can't intimidate me." 

"No?" For a long moment, the cold' 
blue eyes held his contemptuously. 
"No ? I can't frighten you — you wona | 
of the Black Age?" 
, Before Northwood's horrified sight, 




CREATURES 



be vanished ;' vanished as though he 
had turned suddenly to air and floated 
iway. L - 

THE street was not crowded at that 
time, and there was no pressing 
group ©f v bodies to hide the splendid 
creature. Northwood gawked stupidly, 
mouth half open, eyes searching wildly 
everywhere. The man was gone. He 
had eimplw disappeared, in this sane, 
electric-lighted street. 

Suddenly, close to Northwood's ear, 
grated a derisive laugh. "I can't 
frighten you?" From nowhere' came 
that singularly young-old voice. 

At Northwood jerked his head 
around to meet blank space; a blow 
■truck the corner of his mouth. He felt 
the warm blood run 'over his chin. 

"I could take that wallet from you, 
worm, but you may keep it, and see 
me later. But remember this — tlje thing 
iaiide never will be yours." 
The words fell from- empty air. 
For several minutes, xJorthwood 
waited at the spot, expecting another 
demonstration of the abnormal, but 
nothing else occurred. At last, trem- 
bling violently, he wiped the thick 
moisture from his forehead and dabbed 
at the blood which he still felt on his 
chin. ; 

JJut when he looked at his handker- 
chief, he muttered: 
"Well, I'll be jiggered I" 
The handkerchief bore not the 
■lightest trace of blood. 

UNDER the light in his bedroom, 
Northwood examined the wallet. 
It was made of alligator skin, clasped 
with a gold signet that, bore the initial 
M. The first pocket was empty; the 
second yielded an object that jent a 
warm flush to his face. 

It was the photograph of a gloriously 
beautiful .girl, so seductively lovely 
that the picture seemed almost to be 
alive. The short, curved upper lip, the 
hill, delicately voluptuous lower, 
parted slightly in a smile that seemed 
to linger in every exquisite line of her 



3F THE LIGHT 199 

face. She looked as though she had 
just BpokeVi passionately, and the 
spirit of her words had inspired her 
sweet fleslj and eyes. 

Northwcod^turned his head abruptly 
and groaned, "Good Heavens I" 
.He had' no right to palpitate over 
_th« picture of an \ unknown beauty. 
Only a month ago, he had become en- 
gaged to ^a young woman whose mind 
was as brilliant as her face was plain. 
Always he had vowed that he would 
/never marry a pretty girl, for he de» 
tested his own masculine beauty sin- 
cerely. 

He tried to' grasp a mental picture .of 
Mary Burns, who had never stirred in 
him the emotion that this smiling pic- 
ture invoked. But, gazing at the pic- 
ture, he could not remember how his 
fiancee looked. ~~ \ 

Suddenly the. picture fell from his 
fingers and dropped to the floor on its 
face, revealing an inscription on the 
back. In a bold, masculine hand, he 
read: "Your future wife." 

"Some lucky fellow is headed for a 
life of bliss," was his jealous thought. 

He frowned at the» beautiful face. 
What was this girl to that hideous 
hunchback? Why did the handsome 
stranger warn him, "The thing inside 
never will be yours?" 

Again he turned eagerly ,to the 
wallet. I 

In the last flap he found something 
that gave him another surprise : a plain 
white card on which a name and ad- 
dress were written by the same hand 
that had penned the inscription on the 
picture. 

Bmil Mundson, Ph. D., 
Indian Cour,t 

Emil Mundson, the electrical wizard 
and distinguished scientific writer, 
friend of the professor of science at 
the university where Northwood was 
an assistant professor; Emil Mundson, 
whom, a week ago, Northwood had 
yearned mightily to meet. 
Now Northwood knew why the 



200 



ASTOUNDING STORIESX 



hunchback's intelligent, ugly face was 
familar to him. He had seen it pic- 
tured as. Often as enterprising news 
photographers could steal a likeness 
from the over-sensitive scientist, who 
would never sit --for a formal portrait. 

EVEN before Northwood had grad.- 
uated from the university where 
he now taught, he had been avidly in- 
terested in' pmil Mundson's fantastic 
articles in scientific journals. Only a 
week ago, Professor Michael' had come 
to him with the current issue of New 
Science, shouting excitedly: 

"Did you read this, John, this ar- 
ticle by Emil Muhdson?" His 'shaking, 
gnarled old fingers tapped the open 
magazine. 

'Northwood seized the magazine and 
looked avidly at the title of the article, 
"Creatures of the Light." 

"No, I haven't read it," he admitted. 
"My magazine hasn't come yet." 

"Run -through it now briefly, will 
you? And note with especial care the 
passages I have marked. In fact, you 
needn't bother with anything else just 
now. Read this — and this — and this." 
He pointed out penciled paragraphs. 
Northwood read: 

Man always has been, always will 
be a creature of the light. He is 
forever reaching for some future ' 
point of perfected evolution which, 
even when his most remote an- 
cestor was a fish creature com- \ 
posed of a few cells, was the guid- 
ing power -that brought him up 
from the first stinking sea and 
caused him to create gods in his 
own image. 

It is this yearning for perfection 
which sets man' apart from all 
other life, which made him man 
even in the rudimentary stages of 
his development. He was man when 
he wallowed in the slime of the 
new world and yearned fo» the air 
above. He will still be man when 
he has evolved into that glorious 
creature of the future whose body 



is deathless and whose mind rules 
the universal 

■» ' '■ 

Professor Michaef, looking over 
Northwood's shoulder, interrupted the 
reading: 

"Man always' has been, man," fie 
droned emphatically. "That's not orif. 
inal with friend Mundson, of course; 
- yet it is a theory that has not received 
sufficient. investigation." He indicated 
another marked paragraph. "Read tin 
thoughtfully, John. It's the crux of 
Mundson's thought." 

Northwood continued: 

Since the human body is chem- 
ical" and electrical, increased 
knowledge of its powers and limi- 
tations will enable us to work with 
Nature in her sublime but infinite- 
ly slow processes of human evolu- 
tion. We need not wait another 
fifty thousand years to be god- 
like creatures. Perhaps even now 
we may be standing at the begin- 
ning of the .splendid bridge that 
will take us to that state of per- 
fected evolution when we shall be 
Creatures who have reached the 
Light. r 

Northwood looked questioningly,«t 
the professor. "Queer, fantastic 
thing, isn't it?" 

PROFESSOR MICHAEL smoothed i 
hrs thin, gray hair with ha' 
dried-out hand. "Fantastic?" Hit 
intellectual eyes behind the thick; 
glasses sought the ceUing. "Who cm 
say ? Haven't you ever wondered why 
all parents expect their children to be 
nearer perfection ^han themselves, and 
why is it a natural impulse for then 
to be willing to sacrifice themselves to 
better their •offspring?" Ht! paused and 
moistened Jiis pale, wrinkled lips. "In- 
stinct, Northwood. We Creatures of 
the Light know that our race' shall 
'reach that point in evolution when, at 
perfect creatures, we shall rule all m«>j 
ter arid live forever." He punctuated! 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



201 



-the last words with blows oh the table. 

Northwood laughed dryly. "How 
many thousands of years are you look- 
ing forward, Professor?" 

The professor made an obscure noise 
that sounded like a smothered sniff. 
"You and I shall never agree on the 
point that mental advancement may 
wipe out physical limitations . in the 
human race, perhaps in a few hundred 
years. It seems as though your pro- 
found admiration for Dr. Mundson 
would win you over to this pet theory." 

"But what sane man can believe that 
even perfectly developed beings, 
through mental control, could over- 
come Nature's fixed laws?" 

"We don't know I We don't know I" 
The professor slapped the magazine 
with an emphatic hand. "Emil Mund- 
son hasn't written this article for noth- 
ing. He's paving the way for some an- 
nouncement that will startle the scien- 
tific world. I know him. In the same 
manner he gave out veiled hints of his 
various brilliant discoveries and inven- 
tions long before he offered them to 
the world." 

"But Dr. Mundson is an electrical 
wiiard. He would not be delving seri- 
ously into the mysteries of evolution, 
would he?" 

"Why not?" The professor's wiz- 
ened face screwed up wisely. "A year 
'ago, when he was back from one of 
those mysterious long excursions he 
takes in that weirdly different aircraft 
of his, about which he is so secretive, 
be told me that he was conducting ex- 
periments to prove his belief that the 
human brain generates electric current, 
and that the electrical impulses in the 
brain set up radioactive waves that 
some day, among other miracles, will 
make thought communication possible. 
Perfect man, he says, will perform 
mental feats which will give him com- 
plete mental domination over the phys-' 
icaL" 

NORTHWOOD finished, reading 
and turned thoughtfully^ to the* 
window. His profile in repose had the 



straight-nosed, full-lipped perfection 
of a Greek coin. Old, wizened Pro- 
fessor Michael, gazing at him covertly, 
smothered a sigh. ,jr 

"I' wish you knew. Dr. Mundson!" he 
said. "He, the ugliest man in the 
world, delights in physical perfection. 
He would revel in your splendid body 
and brilliant mind." 

NorthwobM blushed hotly. "You'll 
have to arrange a meeting between us." 

"I have." The professor's thin, dry 
lips pursed comically. "He'll drop in 
to see you within a few days." 

And now John Northwood sat hold- 
ing Dr. Mundson's card and the wallet 
which the scientist had so mysterious- 
ly dropped at his feet. 

HERE was high adventure, per-^ 
haps, for which he had been sin- 
gled out by the famous electrical 
wizard. While excitement mounted in 
his blood, Northwood again examined 
the photograph. The .girl's < strange 
eyes, odd in expression rather than in 
size or shape, seemed to hold him. The 
young man's breath came quicker. 

"It's a challenge," he said softly. "It 
won't hurt to see what it's all about." 

His watch showed' eleven o'clock. He 
would return the wallet that night. 
Into hisfcoat pocket Jse slipped a re- 
volver. One sometimes needed weap- 
ons in Indian Court, 
' He took a taxi, which soon . turned 
from the well-lighted streets into a sec- 
tion where squalid houses crowded 
against each other, -and dirty children 
swarmed in the streets in their last 
games of the day. ' " 

Indian Court was little more than ah 
alley, dark and evil smelling. 

The chauffeur stopped at the en- 
trance and said: . 

"If I drive in, I'll have to back out, 
sir. Number forty-four and a half is 
the end house, facing the entrance!" 

"Yiou've been here before?" asked 
Northwood. 

"Last week I drove the queerest bird 
here — a fellow as good-looking as you, 
who had me follow the taxi occupied 



202 



ASTOUNDING STORIES' 



by a hunchback with a face like Old 
Nick." The man hesitated and went on 
haltingly: "It might sound goofy, 
mister, but there -was something funny 
about my fare. He jumped out, asked 
me the charge, and, in. the moment I 
glanced at my 'taxi-meter, he disap- 
peared. Yes, sir. Vanished, owing me 
four dollars, six bits. It was almost 
ghostlike, mister." 

Northwood laughed nervously and 
dismissed him. He found his number 
and knocked at #ie dilapidated door. 
He heard a sudden movement in the 
lighted room beyond, and the door 
opened .quickly. 

Dr. Mundson faced him. 

"I knew you'd cornel" he said with 
a slight Teutonic accent. "Often I'm 
not wrong in sizing up my man. Come 
in." 

Northwood cleared his throat awk- 
wardly. "You dropped your wallet at 
my feet, Dr Mundson. I tried to 'stop 
you before you got away, but I guess 
you did not hear me." 

"He offered the wallet, but the hunch- 
back waved it aside. 

"A ruse, of course," he confessed. "It 
just was my way of testing what your 
Professor Michael told about you — that 
lyou are extraordinariljrSintelligent, 
virile, and imaginative. Had; you sent 
the wallet to me, I should hare sought 
elsewhere for my man. Come in," 

•l i 

NORTHWOOD followed '-him\ into 
a living room evidently, recently 
furnished in a somewhat hurried man- 
ner. The furniture, although rich, was 
not placed to best advantage 1 . The new 
rug was a trifle crooked on the floor, 
and the lamp shades clashed in color 
with the otfler furnishings! 

Dr. Mundson's intense eyes svdept 
over Northwood'* tall, slim body. 

"Ah, you're a man I" he said softly. 
"You are what all men would: be if we 
followed Nature''! plan that only the fit 
shall survive. But modern science is 
permitting the unfit to live and to mix 
their defective beings with, the, de- 
veloping race-l" His huge fist gesticu- 



lated madly. "Fools 1, Fools! They, 
need me and perfect men like you." 
"Why?" 

"Because you can help me in my plan 
to populate the earth with a new rata! 
of godlike people. But don't quMaW 
me too closely now. Even if I should; 
explain, you would call me insane. But 
watch; gradually I shall unfold the 
mystery before you, so that, you witf 
believe." , • 

He reached .for the wallet that 
Northwood still held, opened it with t 
monstrous hand, and reached for the 
photograph. "She shall bring you loTt* 
She's more beautiful than a poet's 
dream." • 

A warm flush, crept over the younfj 
man's face. 

"I can easily understand," he said, 
"how a man could love her, but for me 
she comes too late." 

"Pooh I Fiddlesticks I" The scien- 
tist snapped his fingers. "This girl wat 
created for you. That other — you will 
forget her the moment you set eyes oa 
the sweet flesh of this Athalia. She is' 
an houri from Paradise — a maiden of 
musk and incense." He held the girfi; 
photograph toward the. young man., 
"Keep it. She is yours, if you art: 
strong enough to hold her." 

Northwood opened his card case and 
placed the picture inside, facing; 
Mary's photograph. Again the warn- 
ing words of the mysterious stranger 
rang jn his memory: "The thing it- 
side never will be yours." 

"Where to," he said eagerly; "and 
when do we start ?" 

"To the new Garden of Edenj" said 
the scientist, with such a beatific 
smile that his face was less hideout)' 
"We start immediately. I have ar- 
ranged with Professor Michael for you 
to go,'*- 

NORTHWOOD followed Dr. 
Mundson to the street and walked 
with him a few blocks to a garage 
where the scientist's" .motor v* 
waited. - \ \ 

"The apartment in- Indian Court 



* CREATURES OP THE LIGHT 



203 



/ 

just a little eccentricity of mine," ex- 
plained Dr. Mundson. "I need people 
in my work, people whom I must select 
through swift, sure tests. The apart- 
ment comes in handy, as to-night." 

Northwood scarcely noted where 
they were going, or how long they had 
been on the way. He was vaguely aware 
that theyj had left the city behind, and 
were now passing through farms 
bathed in moonlight. 

At last they entered a path that led 
through a bit of woodland. For half ai 
mile the path continued, and then 
ended at a small, enclosed field. In the 
middle of this Tested a queer aircraft. 
Northwood knew it was a flying ma- 
chine only by the propellers mounted 
on the top of the huge ball-shaped 
body. There were no wings, jio bird- 
like hull, no tail. \ 

"It looks almost like a little world 
ready to fly off into space," he com- 
mented. 

"It is just about that." The scientist's 
squat, bunched-out body, settled 
squarely on long, thin* straddled legs, 
looked gnomelike in the moonlight. 
"One cannot copy flesh 'with steel and 
wood, but one* cars make metal perform 
magic of which flesh is not capable. My 
tun-ship is not a mechanical reproduc- 
tion of a bird. It is — but, climb m, 
tyoung friend." 

NORTHWOOD followed Dr. 
Mundson into the aircraft. The 
moment the scientist closed the metal 
door behind them, Northwood was in- 
stantly aware of some concealed horror 
that vibrated through his nerves. For 
one dreadful moment, he expected' 
some terrific agent of the shadows that 
escaped the electric lights to leap upon 
him. And this was odd, for nothing 
could be saner than the glcibular in- 
terior of the aircraft, divided into four 
wedge-shaped apartments. 

Dr. Mundson also paused at the door, 
puzzled, hesitant. 

"Someone has been herd" he ex- 
claimed. "Look, Northwood I The 
bunk has been occupied — the one in 



this cabin I had set aside for you." 

He pointed to the disarranged bunk, 
where the impression of a head could 
still be seen on a pillow. 

"A tramp, perhaps." 

"No I The door Was locked, and, as 
you saw, the fence around' this field was 
protected with barbed wire. There's 
something wrong. I felt it on my trip 
here all the way, like someone watch- 
ing me in the dark. And don't laugh 1 I' 
have stopped laughing at all things 
that seem unnatural. You don't know 
what is naturan" 

Northwood shivered. "Maybe some-, 
one is concealed about the ship." 

"Impossible. Me, I thought so, too. 
But I looked and looked, and there wis 
nothing." 

A^l evening Northwood had burned 
to tell the scientist about the handsome 
-stranger in the Mad Hatter Club. But 
even now he shrank from saying that a 
man had vanished before his eyes. 

Dr. Mundson was working with a 
succession of buttons and levers. There 
was a slight jerk, and then the strange 
craft shot up, straight as a bullet from 
a gun, wjfth scarcely a sound other than 
a continuous whistle. 

"The vertical rising aircraft per- 
fected," explained Dr. Mundson. "But 
what would you think if I told you that 
there is not an ounce pf gasoline in my 
heavier-than-air craft?" 

"I shouldn't be surprised. A n elec- 
trical genius would 'seek for a less ob- 
solete source of power." 

IN the bright flare of the electric 
lights, the scientist's ugly face 
flushed.- "The man who harnesses the 
sun rules the world. He can make' the 
desert places bloom, the frozen* poles 
balmy and verdant. You, John North- 
wood, are one of the very few to fly 
in a 'machine operated solely by elec- 
trical energy from the sun's rays." 

''Are you telling me that this airship 
is operated with power from the sun?" 

"Yes. And I cannot take the credit 
for its invention." He sighed. "The 
dream was mine," but a greater brain 



204 ASTOUNDU 

developed it — a brain that ' may be 
greater than I suspect." His face grew 
suddenly graver. 

At little later Northwood said: "It 
seems that we must be making fabulous 
speed." 

"Perhaps I" Dr. Mundson worked 
with the controls. "Here, I've cut her 
down to the average speed of the or- 
dinary airplane. Now you can see a 
bit of the night scenery." 

Northwood peeped out the thick; 
glass porthole. Far below, he saw two' 
tiny streaks of' ligb.t, one smooth and 
stationery, the other wavering ^as 
though it were a Reflection in water.' 

"That can't be a lighthouse I" he 
cried. 

The scientist glanced outj "It is. 
We're approaching the Florida Keys." 

"Impossible I We've been traveling 
less than ah hour." 

j "But, my young friend,- do you real- 
ize that my sun-ship has a speed of 
over one'thousand- miles an hour, how 
much over I dare not tell you ?" 

Throughout the night, . Northwood 
sat beside Dr. Mundson, watching his 
deft fingers control the simple-looking 
^buttons and levers. So fast was their 
flight now that, through the portholes, 
sky arid earth looked the same: dark 
gray films of emptiness. The continu- 
ous weird whistle from the hidden 
mechanism of the sun-ship was like the 
drone of a monster insect, monotonous 
and soporific during the long intervals 
when the scientist was too busy with 
his controls to engage in conversation. 

For some reason that he could not 
explain, Northwood had an aversion to 
going into the sleeping apartment be- 
hind the control room. Then, towards 
morning, when the suddenly falling 
temperature struck a -biting chill 
throughout the sun ship, Northwood, 
going into the cabin for fur coats, dis- 
covered why his mind and body sfirank 
in horror from the cabin. 

AFTER he had procured k the fur 
coats from a closet, he paused a 
moment, in the privacy of the cabin, to 



G STORIES f 

i 

look at Athalia's picture. Every nerrel 
in his body leaped to meet the man 
netiam of. her beautiful eyes. Never 
had Mary Bums -stirred emotion like 
this in him. He hung over Mary's pk>j 
ture, wistfully, hoping almost prayer! 
fully that he could react to ber as ha 
did to Athalia ; but her pale, over-mtel-i 
lectual face left him cold. 

"Cadi" he ground out between hit 
teeth. "Forgetting her so soon!" 

The two pictures were lying side by 
Bide on a little table. Suddenly a^ ob- 
scure noise in the room caught his at. 
tention. It. was more vibration than 
noise, for small sounds could scarcely 
be heard above the wpistle of the sun- 
ship. A slight compression: of the ait 
against his neck gave him the eery 
feeling that someone was standing 
close behind him. He wheeled and 
looked over his shoulder. Hall 
ashamed of his startled gesture,, be 
again turned to his pictures. Then a 
sharp cry broke from him; 

Athaniafs picture was gone. 

He searched for it everywhere in the 
room, in his own pockets, under the 
furniture. It was nowhere to be found; 

In sudden, overpowering horror, be 
seized the fur coats and returned to the 
control room. ! 

DR. MUNDSON was changing tbe 
speed. 

"Look out the windowY' he called to 1 
Northwood. 

The young man looked and started 
violently. Day had come, and now that 
the sun-ship was flying at a moderate; 
speed, the ocean beneath was plalnfy 
visible ; and its entire*surface was cori 
ered with broken floes of ice and small, 
ragged icebergs, He seized a telescope 
and focusd it below. A typical polar 
scene met his eyes! penguins strutted, 
about on cakes of ice, a whale blowing 
in the. icy water. 

"A part of the Antarctic that bat 
never been explored," said Dr. Mundi 
son; "and there, just showing on the 1 
horizon, is the Great Ice Barrier." Hil 
characteristic smile lighted the morass, 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



205 



black eyes. "I am enough of the 
dramatist to wish you to be impressed 
with what I shall show you within less 
than an hour. Accordingly, I shall 
make a landing and let you feel polar 
ice under your feet." 

After less than a minute's search, Dr. 
Mundson found a suitable place on the 
ice for a landing, and, with a few deft 
manipulations of the controls, brought 
the sun-ship swooping down like an 
eagle on its prey. * 

For a long moment after the scientist 
had stepped out on the ice, Northwpod 
paused at the door. His feet were 
chained by a strange reluctance to" en- 
ter this white, dead wilderness or ice. 
But Dr. Mundson's impatient, 
"Ready?" drew from him one last 
glance at? the cozy interior of the sun- 
ship "before he, too, went out into the 
frozen stillness. 

They left the sun-ship resting on the 
ice like a fallen silver moon, while they 
wandered to the edge of the Barrier 
and Iookcdxat the fray, narrow stretch 
of sea between the ice pack and the 
high cliffs of the -Barrier. The tun of 
the commencing six-months' Antarctic 
day was a low, cold ball whose slanted 
rays struck the ice with blinding 
whiteness. There were constant falls 
of ice from the Barrier, which thun- 
dered into the ocean amid great clouds 
of ice smoke that lingered like wraiths 
around the edge. It was a scene of 
loneliness and waiting death. 

"What's that?" exclaimed the scien- 
tist suddenly. • 

Out pf the white silence shrilled a 
low whistle, a familiar whistle. Both 
men wheeled toward 'the sun-ship. 

Before their horrified eyes, the great 
sphere jerked and glided up, and 
swerved into the heavens. 

UP it soared; then, gaining speed, 
it swung into the blue distance 
until, in a moment, it was a tiny star 
that flickered out even as they watched. 

Both men (creamed and 'cursed and, 
flung up their arms despairingly. A 
penguin, attracted by their cries, wad- 



dled solemnly over to them and re- 
garded them with manlike curiosity. 
> "Stranded in the coldest spot on 
earth I" groaned the scientist. 

"Why did it start itself, Dr. Mund- 
son!" Norwood narrowed his eyes as 
he spoke. 

"It didn't I" The scientist's huge 
face, red from cold, quivered with help- 
less rage. "Human hands started it." 

"What! Whose hands?" 

"Ach! Do I know?" Hi's Teutonic 
accent grew more pronounced, as it al- 
ways did when he was under emotional 
stress. "Somebody whose brain is bet- 
ter than mine. Somebody who found a. 
way to hide away from our eyes. Acb.\ 
Gott! Don't let me think t" 

His great head sank between hi? 
shoulders, giving him, in his fur suit, 
the grotesque appearance of a friendly 
brown bear. 

"Doctor Mundson," said Northwood 
•uddenly, "did you have an enemy, a 
man with the face and body of a pagan 
god — a great, blond creature with eyes 
as cold and cruel as the ice under onr 
feet?" 

"Wait I" The huge found head 
jerked up. "How do you know about 
Adam? xou have not seen him, won't 
see him until we arrive at our destina- 
tion." 

"But I have seen him. He was sit- 
ting not thirty "feet from you in the 
Mad Hatter's Club last night. Didn't 
you know? He followed me to the 
street, spoke to me, • and then — " 
Northwood stopped. How could he let 
the insane words pass his lips? 
, "Then, what? Speak up!" 

NORTHWOOD laughed nervous- 
i ly. "It sounds foolish, but I saw 
him vanish like that." He snapped his 
• fingers. . 

"Ach, Gott I" .All the ruddy color- 
drained from the scientist's face. As 
though talking to himself, he con- 
tinued : 

"Then it is true, as he said. He' has 
crossed the bridge, He has reached 
the Light. And now he comes to see 



206 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



the world he will conquer — came un- 
seen when I refused my permission:" 

He was silent (or a long time, pon- 
dering. Then he turned passionately 
to Northwood. ' 

"John Northwood, kill me I I have 
brought a new horror into the world. 
From the unborn future, I have 
snatched a creature who has reached 
the Light too soon. Kill me I" He 
bowed his great, shaggy head. 1 

"What do you mean, Dr. Mundson : 
that this Adam has arrived at a. point 
in evolution beyond this age?" 

"Yes. Think of itl I visioned god- 
like creatures with the souls of gods. 
But, Heaven help us, man always will 
be man; always will lust for conquest. 
You and' I, Northwood, and all others 
are barbarians to Adam. He and his 
kind will do what men always do to 
barbarians— conquer and kill." 

"Are there more like him?" North- 
wood struggled with a smite of uhbe- ' 

■"I Hon't know. I did not know that i 
£iSam had reached a point so near the 
ultimate.' But y4u have seen. Already 
he is able to set aside what we call 
natural laws." 

Northwood looked at the scientist 
closely. The man was surely mad — 
mad in this desert of white death. 

"Cornel" he said cheerfully. "Let's 
build an Eskimo snow house.. We can 
live on penguins for days. Ahd who 
knows what may rescue us?" 

For three hours the two worked at 
cutting ice blocks. With snow for 
mortar, they built a 'crude shelter which 
enabled them to rest out of the cold 
breath of the spiral polar winds that 
blew from the south. ' 

I . 

DR. MUNDSON was sitting at the 
door of their hut,' moodily pull- 
ing ,at his strong, black pipe. As though 
a fit had seized-him, he leaped up and 
let his pipe fall to the ice. 
' Look I" he shouted. "The sun-ship!" 
It seemed but a moment before the 
tiny speck on the horizon had swept 
overhead, a silver comet on the gray- 



ish-blue polar sky. In another moment 
it had swooped down, eaglewise, 
scarcely fifty feet from the ice hut. 

Dr. Mundson and Northwood ran 
forward. From . the metal sphere 
stepped the stranger of the Mad Hatter 
' Club. His tall, straight form, erect and 
slim, swung toward them over the ice, 

"Adam I" shouted Dr. Mundson. 
"What does this mean? How dare 
you!" 

Adam's laugh was like the happy 
demonstration of a boy. "So? Yon 
think you still are master? You think 
I returned because I reverenced you 
yet?" Hate shot viciously through the 
freezing blue eyes. "You worm of the 
Black Age!" 

Northwood shuddered. He had heard 
those strange words addressed to him- 
self scarcely more than twelve houn 
ago/ 

Adam -was still speaking: "With » 
thought I could annihilate you where 
you are standing. But I have use for 
you. Get in v " He swept his hand to 
the sun-ship. s 

Both men hesitated. Then North- 
wood strode forward until he was with- 
in three feet of Adam. They stood thai, 
eyeing each other, two splendid beings, 
one blond as a Viking, the other dark 
and vital. 

"Just what is your game?'' demanded 
Nortawood. 

The icy eyes «hot forth a gleam like 
lightning. "I needn't tell you, of 
course, but I may as well let you suffer . 
over the knowledge." He curled hii 
lips with superb scorn. "I have one 
human weakness. I want Athalia." The 
icy eyes warmed for a, fleeting second. 
"She is anticipating her meeting with 
you — bah! The taste of these women 
of the Black Age I I could kill you, of 
course; tut that would only inflame 
her. And so I take you to her, thrust 
you down her throat. When she sees, 
you, she will fly to me." He spread hit 
magnificent chest. 

"Adam!" Dr. Mundson's face was 
dark with anger. "What of Eve-?" 

"Who are you to question my so- 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



207 



tions? What a fool you were to let me, ' 
whom you forced into life thousands of 
years too soon, grow more powerful 
than you I Before I am through with 
all of you petty creatures of- the Black 
Age, you will call me more terrible 
than your Jehovah I For see what you 
have called forth from unborn time." 
He vanished. 

BEFORE the startled men could 
recover from the shock of it, the 
vibrant, too-new voice went on : 

"I am sorry for you, Mundson, be- 
cause, like you, I need specimens for 
my experiments. What a splendid 
specimen you will be 1" His laugh was 
ugly with significance. "Get in, 
Worms I" 

Unseen hands cuffed and pushed 
them into the sun- ship- 
Inside, Dr. Mundson stumbled to the 
control room, white and drawn of face, 
his great brain seemingly paralyzed by 
be catastrophe. 

"You needn't attempt tricks," wen,t 
on the voice. "I am watching you both. 
You cannot even hide your thoughts' 
from me." , 

And thus began the strange con- 
tinuation of the journey. Not once, in 
that wild half-hour's rush over the 
polar ice clouds, did they tee Adam. 
They saw and heard only the weird 
signs of his presence: a puffing cigar 
hanging in midair, a glass of water 
swinging to unseen lips, a ghostly 
voice hurling threats and insults at 
them. v 

Once the scientist whispered: "Don't 
cross him; it is useless. John North- 
wood, you'll have to fight a demigod 
for your woman I" 

Because of the terrific speed of the 
sun-ship, Northwood could distinguish 
nothing of the topographical details b#- 
low. At the end of half-an-hour, the 
scientist slowed enough to point out a 
tall range of snow-covered mountains, 
over which hovered a play of colored 
lights like the aurora australis. 

"Behind those mountains," he said, 
"is our destination." 



ALMOST in a moment, the sun- 
ship had soared over the peaks. 
Dr. Mundson kept the speed low 
enough for Northwood to see the 
splendid view below. 

In the giant cup formed by the en- 
circling mountain range was a green 
valley of tropical luxuriance, Stretches 
of dense forest swept half up the moun- 
tains and filled the valley . cup with tan- 
gled verdure. In the center, sur- 
rounded by a broad field and a narrow 
ring of Woods, towered a group of 
buildings. From the largest, which was 
circular, came the auroralike radiance 
that formed an umbrella of light over 
the entire valley. 

"Do I guess right," said Northwood : 
"that the light is responsible for this 
oasis in the ice?" 

"Yes,", said Dr. Munson. "In your 
American slang, it is cartnep sunshine 
containing an overabundance. of certain 
rays, especially the Life Ray, which i 
have isolated." He smiled proudly. 
"You needn't look startled, my friend. 
Some of the most common things store 
sunlight. On very. dark nights, if you 
have sharp eyes, you can see the radi- 
ance given off by certain flowers, which 
many naturalists say is trapped sun- 
shine. The familiar nasturtium and the 
marigold opened for me . the way to 
hold sunshine against the long polar 
night, for they taught me how to' apply 
the Einstein theory of bent light. 
Stated simply, during the polar night, 
when the sun is hidden over the rim of 
the world, we steal some of his rays ; 
during the polar day we concentrate 
the light." 

"But could, stored sunshine/ alone 
give enough warmth for the luxuriant 
growth of those jungles?" 

"An overabundance of the Life Ray 
is responsible for the miraculous 
growth of all life in New Eden. The 
Life Ray is Nature's most powerful 
forte. Yet Nature is often niggardly 
and paradoxical in her use of her 
powers. In New Eden, we' have forced 
the powers of creation to take ascen- 
dency over the powers of destruction." 



208 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



At Northwood's Sudden start, the 
scientist laughed and continued: "Is it 
not a pity that Nature, left alone, re- 
quires twenty years to make a man who 
begins to die in another ten years?' 
Such waste is not tolerated in New 
Elden, where supermen are .younger 
than babes and — "° 
"Come, worms ; let's Jand." 
' It was Adam's voice. Suddenly he 
materialized, a blond gtfd, whose eyes 
and flesh were too new. , 

THEY wWe in a world of golden 
skylight, warmth [and tropical 
vegetation. The field dn which they 
bad landed was covered with a velvety 
green growth of very soft, fine-bladed 
grass, sprinkled with tiny,, star-shaped 
blue flowers. A balmy, sweet-scented 
wind, downy as the breeze of a dream, 
blew gently along the grass and tin- 
gled against Northwood's skin refresh- 
ingly. Almost instantly he had the 
sensation of perfect well being, and 
this feeling of physical perfection was 
part of the ecstasy that seemed to per- 
vade the entire valley. ' Crass and 
breeze and golden skylight were satu- 
rated with a strange -ether of joyous- 
ness. 1 

At one end of the field was a dense 
jungle, cut through by a road that led 
to the towering building from which, 
while above in the sun-ship, they had 
seen the golden light issue. 

From the jungle road came a man 
and a woman, large, handsome people, 
whose flesh and eyes had the sinister 
fewness of Adam's. Even before they , 
came close enough to speak, North- 
cwood was aware that while they seemed 
of Adam's breed, they wpre yet unlike 
him. The difference Was psychical 
rather than physical; they lacked the 
aura of hate and horror that sur- 
rounded Adam. The woman drew 
Adam's head down and kissed him af- 
fectionately on both cheeks. 

Adam, from his towering height, 
patted her shoulder impatiently and 
Mid: "Run on back to 'the laboratory, 
grandmother. We're following soon. 



You have some new human embryos, I 
believe you told me this morning." 

"Four fine specimens, two, of them 
being your sister's twins." 

"Splendid! I was sure that creation 
had stopped with my generation. I 
must see them." He turned to the 
scientist and Northwood. "You need- 
n't try to' leave this spot. Of course I 
shall know instantly and deal with you 
in my own way. Wa.it here." 

He strode over the emerald grass on 
the heels of the woman.' 

Northwodd asked : "Why does he call 
that girl grandmother?" 

"Because she is his ancestress." He 
stirred uneasily. "She is of the first 
generation brought forth in the lab- 
oratory, and is no different from you 
or ! I, except that, at the age of - five 
years, she is the ancestress of twenty 
generations." , 

"My God!" muttered Northwood. 

"Don't start being horrified, my 
friend. Forget about so-called natural 
laws while you are in New Eden. Re- 
member, here we have isolated the Life 
Ray. But look! Here comes your 
Athalial" 

NORTHWOOD gazed covertly at 
the beautiful girl approaching 
them with a rarely graceful walk. She 
was tall, slender, round-bosomed, nar- 
row-hipped, and she held her lovely 
body in the erect poise of splendid 
health. Northwood had a confused 
realization of uncovered bronzy hair, 
drawn to- the back Of a white neck in 
a bunch of short curls ; of immense 
soft black eyes ; lips the . color of 
blood, and delicate, plump flesh on 
which the golden skylight lingered 
graciously. He was instantly glad to 
see that while she possessed the fresh- 
ness of young girlhood; her skin and 
eyes did not hav^ the, horrible newness 
of Adam's. % 

When she was still twenty feet dis- 
tant, Northwood met her eyes and she 
smiled shyly. The rich, red blood ran 
through* her face ; and he, too, flushed. 
She went to Dr. Mundson and, pise- 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



209 



|ng her hands on his thick shoulders, 
kissed him affectionately. 

"I've been worried about you, Daddy 
Mundson." Her rich contralto voice 
matched her exotic beauty. "Since you 
and Adam had that quarrel the day you 
left, I did not see him until this morn- 
ing, when he landed the sun-ship 
alone." 

"And you pleaded with him to return 
lor us?" 

"Yes." Her eyes drooped and a hot 
Bush swept over her face. 

Dr. Mundson smiled. "Bnt I'm back 
now, Athalia, and I've brought some 
one whom I hope you will be glad to 
know." 

Reaching for her hand, he placed it 
■imply in Northwood'a. 

"This is John, Athalia. Isn't he 
handsomer than the pictures of him 
which I televfsioned to you? God 
bless both of you." 

He walked ahead and turned his 
back. 

A MAGICAL half hour followed 
for Northwood and Athalia. The 
girl t61d him of her past life, how Dr. 
Mundson had discovered her one year 
ago working in a New York sweat 
shop, half dead from consumption. 
Without friends, she was eager to fol- 
low the scientist to New Eden, where' 
he promised she would recover her 
health immediately. 

"And He was right, John," she said 
shyly. "The Life Ray, that marvelous 
energy ray which penetrates to the ut- 
most depths of earth and ocean, giving 
to the cells of all living bodies the 
'power to grow and remain animate, has 
.been concentrated by Dr. Mundson . in 
bis stored sunshine. The Life Ray 
healed me almost immediately. 1 * 

Northwood looked* down at the 
glorious girl beside him, whose eyes 
already fluttered away from his like 
shy black butterflies. Suddenly he 
squeezed the soft hand in his and said 
passionately : 

"Athalia I Because Adam wants you 
and will get you if he can, let us set 



aside all the artificialities of civiliza-' 
tion. I have loved you madly ever since 
I saw your picture. If you can say the 
same to me, it will give me courage to 
face what I know lies before me." 

Athalia, her face suddenly tender, 
came' closer to him. 

"John Northwood, I love you." 
. Her red lips came temptingly close ; 
but before he could touch them, Adam 
suddenly pushed his b$dy between him 
and Athalia! Adam was pale, and all 
the icyneas was gone from his blue 
eyes' which were deep and dark and 
very human. He looked down at 
Athalia, and she looked up at him, two 
handsome specimens of perfect man- 
hood and womanhood. 

"Fast work, Athalia I" The new vi- 
brant voice was strained! "I was hop- 
ing you would be disappointed in him, 
especially after having been wooed, by 
me this morning. I could take you' if 
I wished, of course; but I prefer to 
win you in the ancient manner. Dis- 
miss hfmt" He jerked his thumb over 
his shoulder in Northwood'a direction. 

Athalia flashed vividly and looked at 
him almost compassionately. "I am not 
great enough for you, Adam. I dare 
not love you." 

ADAM laughed,' and still oblivious 
of Northwood and Dr. Mundson, 
folded his arms over his breast. With 
the golden skylight onr his burnished 
hair, he was a valiant, magnificent 
spectacle. 

"Since the beginning of time', gods 
and archangels have looked upon the 
daughters of men and found them fair. 
Mate with me, Athalia, and' I>, fifty 
thousand years beyond the creature 
Mundson has selected for you, will 
make you as I am, the deathless over- 
lord of life and all nature." 
He drew her hand to his bosom. 
For one dark moment, Northwood 
fel{ himself seared by jealousy, for, 
through the plump, sweet flesh of 
Athalia's face, he saw the red blood 
leap again. How could she withhold 
herself from this splendid superman? 



210 



► 



ASTOUNDING STORIES j 



But her answer, given with faltering 
voice, was the old, simple one : "I have 
promised him, Adam. I love him." 
TeSrsJkrembled on her thick lashes. 

"Sol I cannot get V|Ou in the ancient 
manner. Now I'll use my own." 

He seized her in ,his arms, crushed 
her against him, and, laughing over her 
head at Northwood, bent his glistening 
head and kissed her on the mouth. 

There, was a blinding flash of blue' 
electric sparks— and nothing else. Both 
Adam and Athalia had vanished. 

A' DAM'S voice came in a last mock- 
l ing challenge : "J. shall be what 
no other gods before me have been — a 
good sport. I'll leave you both to your 
own devices, until I want you again." 

White-lipped and trembling, North- 
wood groane'd: "What has he done 
now?" 

Dr. Mundson's great head drooped. 
"I don't know. Our bodies are 'electric . 
and chemical machines ; and a super in- 
telligence has'' discovered new' laws of 
which you -and I are ignorant." 

"But Athalia. . . ." 

"She is safe; be loves her." 
. "Loves her I" Northwood shivered. 
"I cannot believe that those freezing 
eyes could ever look with love on a 
woman." 

"Adam is a man. At heart he is as 
human as the . first man-creature that 
wallowed in the new earth's slime." 
His voice dropped as though he were 
musing aloud. "It might be well to let 
him have Athalia. She will help to 
keep vigor in the new race, which 
would stop reproducing in another few 
generations without the injection of 
Black Age blood.': 

"Do you want to bring more crea- 
tures like Adam into the world?" 
Northwood flung at him. "You have 
tampered with life enough. Dr. Mund- 
son. But, although Adam has my sym- 
pathy. I'm not willing to turn Athalia 
over to him." 

"Well said I Now come to the labora- 
i tory for chemical nourishment and rest 
! under the L,iie Ray." 



They went to the treat circular 
building from whose highest tower it. 
Bued the golden radiance that shamed 
the light of the sun, hanging low in the 
northeast. 

"John Northwood," said Dr. Mund- 
son, "with that laboratory, which is the 
center of all life in New Eden, well 
have to whip Adam. He gave lis what 
he called a 'sporting"chance' because he 
knew that he is able to send us and all 
mankind to a doom more terrible than 
hell. Even now we might be entering 
some hideous trap that he has Bet for 
us." 

i 

THEY entered by a side entrance 
and went immediately to what Dr. 
Mundson called the Rest Ward. Here, 
in a large room, were ranged rows of 
cots, on many of which lay men bask- 
ing in the deep orange flood of light 
which poured from individual lamp* 
set above each cot. 

"It is the Life Ray I" said Dr. Mund- 
son reverently. "The source of. all 
growth and restoration in Nature. It 
is the power that bursts dpen the seed 
and brings forth the shoot, that in- 
creases the shoot, into a giant tree. It 
is the same power that enables the fer- 
tilized ovum to develop into an animal 
It create^ and recreates cells almost in- 
stantly; Accordingly, it is the perfect 
substitute for sleep. Stretch but, enjoy 
its power ; and while you rest, eat these 
nourishing tablets." 

Northwood lay on a cot, and Dr. 
Mundson turned the Life Ray on him. 
For a few minutes a delicious drowsi- 
ness fell upon him, producing a spell of 
perfect peace which the cells of his be- 
ing seemed to drink in.' For another 
delirious, fleeting spacer every inch of' 
him vibrated with a thrilling sensation 
of freshness. ■? He took a deep, ecstatic 
breath and opened his eyes. 
" "Enough," said Dr. Mundsotr, switch- 
ing off the Ray. "After three minutes 
of rejuvenation, you are eommendnf- 
again with perfect cells. All ravages 
from disease and wear have been cor- 
rected." 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



211 



Northwood leaped up joyously. His 
yiinAmmnr pyes Bparkled, his skin 
glowed, "ilfeel great I Never felt so 
good since l\was a kid." 

A pleased grin spread over the 
scientist's homely face. "See what my 
discovery wilLtnean to the world I In 
the future wo' shall all go to f he labora- 
tory for recuperation and nourishment. 
We'll have almost twenty-four hours a 
day for work and play." 

HE stretched out on the bed con- 
tentedly. "Some day, when my 
work is nearly done, I shall permit the 
life Ray to cure my hump." 
"Why not now ?" 

Dr. Mundson sighed. "If I were per- 
fect, I should cease to be so over- 
whelmingly conscious of the impor- 
tance of perfection." He settled back 
to enjoyment of the Life Ray'. 

A few minutes later, he jumped up, 
alert as a boy.. "Act! That's fine. 
Now I'll show you how the Life Ray 
speeds up development and produces 
four generations of humans a year." 

"With restored energy, Northwood 
began thinking of Athalia. As he fol- 
lowed Dr. Mundson down a long cor- 
ridor, he yearned to see her again, to be 
certain that. she was safe. Once he 1 
imagined he felt a gentle, soft-fleshed 
touch against his hand, and was disap- 
pointed not to see her walking by his 
side. Was she with- him, unseen? The 
thought was sweet. 

Before. Dr. Mundson opened the^mas- 
stve bronze door at the end of the cor- 
ridor, he said: 

"Don't be surprised or shocked over 
anything you see here, John North- 
wood. This is the Baby Laboratory." 

They entered a room which seemed 
no different from a hospital warH. On 
little white beds lay naked children of 
various sizes, perfect, solemn-eyed 
youngsters and older children as 
beautiful as animated statues. Above 
each bed was a small Life Ray pro- 
jector. A white-capped nurse went 
from bed to bed. 

They are recuperating from the 



daily educational period," said the 
Bc)entist. "After a few minutes of this 
they will, go into the growing room, 
which I shall have to show you through 
a window. Should you and I enter, we 
might be changed in a most extraor- 
dinary manner." He laughed mis>-. 
chievously. "But, look, Northwood I" 

HE slid back a panel in the wall, 
and}- Northwood peered in 
through a thick panp of clear glass. 
The room was .really an immense out- 
door arena, its only carpet the fine- 
bladefl grass. Its roof the blue sky cut 
in the middle by an enormous disc 
from which shot the aurora of trapped 
sunshine which made a golden um- 
brella over the valley. Through open- 
ings in the bottom of the disc poured 
a fine rain of rays which fell constantly 
upon groups of children, youths and 
young girls, all clad in (the merest 
scraps of clothing. Some were danc- 
ing, others were playing games, but all 
seemed as supremely happy as the 
birds and butterflies which fluttered 
about the shrubs and flowers edging 
.the arena. 

"I don't expect you to believe," said. 
Dr. Mundson, "that the oldest young 
man in thert is three months old. You 
cannot see visible changes in a body 
which grows as slowly as the human 
being, whose normal period of develop- 
ment is twenty years or more. But I 
can give you visible proof of how fast 
growth' takes place under the full 
power of the Life Ray. Plant life, 
which, even when left to nature, often 
develops from seed to flower within a 
few weeks or months, can be seen mak- 
ing its miraculous changes under the 
Life Ray. Watch those gorgeous pur- 
ple /flowers over which the butterflies 
are hovering." ' 

Northwood followed his pointing 
finger.' Near the glass, window through 
which they looked grew an enormous 
bank of resplendent violet colored 
flowers, which literally enshrouded the 
entire bush with their royal glory. At 
first glance it seemed as though a via* 



212 ASTOUNDII 

lent wind were snatching at flower and 
bush, but closer inspection proved that 
the af|i cation was part of the plant it- 
self. And then he saw that the move- 
ments . were the result of perpetual 
composition, and growth. 

HE fastened his eyes «n one huge 
bud. He saw it swell, burst, 
spread out its passionate purple velvet, 
lift the broad flower face to the light 
for a joyous minute'. A few seconds 
later a butterfly lighted- airily to 
sample its nectar and to brush the 
pollen from its yellow dusted wings. 
Scarcely had the winged visitor flown 
away than the purple petals began to 
wither and fall away, leaving the seed 
pod on the stem. The visible change 
went on in this seed pod. It turned 
rapidly .brown, dried out, and then sent 
the released seeds in a shower to the 
rich black earth below. Scarcely had 
the seeds touched the ground thaq they 
sent up tiny green shoots that grew 
larger each moment. Within' ten min- 
utes there was a new plant a foot high. 
Within half an hour, the plant budded, 
blossomed, and cast forth i^s own seed. 

"You understand?" asked the scien- 
tist, "Development is going on as rapid- 
ly among the children. Before the first 
year has passed, the youngest baby will 
have grandchildreXi'that is^if the baby 
tests out fii^ to^pass its seed down to 
the new generation. I know it sounds 
absurd. Yet you saw the plant." 

"But Doctor," Northwood rubbed his 
jaw thoughtfully, "Nature's forces of 
destruction, of tearing down, are as 
powerful as her creative powers. You 
have discovered the ultimate in crea- 
tion and upbuilding. But perhaps— oh, 
Lord, it is too awful to think I" 

"Speak, Northwood I" The scientist's 
voice was impatient. 

"It is nothing 1" The pale young man 
attempted a smile. "I was only imagin- 
ing some of the horror that could.be 
thrust on the world if a supermind like 
Adam's should discover Nature's secret 
of death and destruction and speed it 
up as you -have sped the life force." 



KG STORIES 

"Acb Gottl" Dr. Mundton's face wag 
white. "He has his own laboratory, 
where he works every day. Don't talk 
so laud. He might be listening. And I 
. believe he can do anything he sets out 
'to accomplish." 

Close to Northwood's ear fell a faint," 
triumphant whisper: "Yes, he can do 
anything. How did 'you guess, worm?" 

It was Adam's voice. 

"^TOW 'come and see the Leyden 

X^l jar mothers," said Dr. Mundson. 
"We do not wait for the child to be 
born 'to start our work." 

He took Northwood to a laboratory 
crowded with strange apparatus, where 
young men and women worked. North- 
wood knew instantly that these people, 
although unusually handsome and 
strong, were not of Adam's generation. 
None of them had the look of newness 
which marked those who had grown up 
under the Life Ray. 

"They are the perfect couples whom 
I combed the world to find," said the 
scientist. "From their eugenic mar- 
riages sprang the first children that 
passed through the laboratory. I bad 
hoped," he hesitated and looked side- 
ways at Northwood, "I had dreamed of 
having the children of you and Athalli 
to help strengthen the New Race." 

A wave of sudden disgust passed 
over Northwood. "V 

"Thanks," he said tartly. "When I 
marry Athalia, I intend to have an old- 
fashioned home and a Black Age fami- 
ly. I don't relish having my children 
turned into— experiments." 

"But wait until you see all the won- 
ders of the laboratory I That is why 
I am showing you all this." 

Northwood drew his handkerchief 
and mopped his brow. "It sickens me. 
Doctor I The more I -see, the more pity 
I have for Adam — and the less I blame 
him for his rebellion and his desire to 
kill and to rule. Heavens I What a 
terrible \thing you have done, experi- 
menting! with human life." 

"Nonsense I Can you Bay that all life 
\ — all matter— is not the result of scien- 



TREATURES qf the light 



2U 



tific experiment? Can you?" His 'black' 
gaze made Northwood uncomfortable. 
"Buck up, young friend, for now I am 
going to show you a 'marvelous im- 
provement "on. Nature's bungling ways 
—the Leyden jar mother." He raised 
his voice and called, "Lilith I" 

The wdman whom they had met on 
the field came forward. 

"May. we take a peep at Lona's 
twins?" aBked the scientist. "They are 
about ready to go to the growing dome, 
are they not?" 

"In five more minutes," said the 
woman. "Come see." 

SHE lifted one of the black velvet 
curtains that lined an entire side 
of the laboratory and thereby disclosed 
a globular jar of glass and metal, con- 
nected by wires, to a dynamo.. Above 
the jar was a Life Ray projector. 
Lilith slid aside a metal portion of the 
jar, disclosing through the glass under- 
neath the squirming, kicking body of a 
baby, resting on a bed of soft, spongy 
substance, to which it was connected 
by the navel cord. 

"The Leyden jar mother," said Dr. 
Mundson. "It is the dream of us scien- 
tists realized. The human mother's 
body does nothing but nourish and pro- 
tect her unborn child, a job which 
science can do better. And so, in New 
Eden, we take the young embryo and 
place it in the Leyden jar mother, 
where the Life Ray, electricity, anty 
chemical food shortens the period of 
gestation to a few days." 

At that moment a bell under the. 
Leyden jar began to ring. Dr. Mundson 
uncovered tbe jar and lifted out the 
thild, a beautiful, perfectly formed 
boy, who began to cry lustily. 

"Here ib one baby who'll never be 
kissed," he said. "He'll be nourished 
chemically, and, at the end of the week, 
will no longer be a baby. If you are 
patient, you can actually see the proc- 
esses of development taking place un- 
der the Life Ray, for babies develop 
wry fast." 
Northwood buried his face in his 



hands. "Lord I This is awful. No child- 
hood; no mother to mould his mind! 
No parents to watch over him, to give 
him their tender care!" 
' "A\ti£ul, fiddlesticks I Come see how 
children get their education, how they 
learn to use their hands and. feet so 
they need not pass through the awk- 
wardness of childhood." 

HE led Northwood to a magnificent 
building whose facade of white 
marble was as simply beautiful as a 
Greek temple. The side walls, built al- 
most entirely of glass, permitted the 
synthetic sunshine. to sweep from end 
to end. They first entered a library, 
where youths and young girls poured 
over books of all kinds. Their manner 
of reading mystified -Northwood. With 
a single sweep of the eye, they seemed 
to devour a page, and then turned to 
the next. He stepped closer to peer over 
the shoulder of' a beautiful girl. She 
waa reading "Euclid's Elements of 
Geometry," in Latin, and she turned 
the pages as swiftly as the. other girl 
occupying htjr table, who was devour- 
ing "Paraditfc Lost/' 

Dr. Mundson whispered to him: "If 
you do not believe that Ruth here is 
getting her Euclid, which she probably 

?ever saw before today, examine her 
rom the book; that is, if you are a 
good enough Latin scholar." 

Ruth stopped her reading to talk to 
him, and, in* a few minutes, had com- 
pletely dumbfounded him with her pe- 
dantic replies, which fell from lips as 
luscious and unformed as an infant's. 

"Now," said Dr.' Mundson, "test 
Rachael on her Milton. As far as she 
has read, she should not misquote a 
line, and her comments will probably' 
prove, her scholarly appreciation of 
Milton." 

Word for word, Rachael was able to 
give him "Paradise Lost" from memory, . 
except the last four pages, which she! 
had not read. Then, taking the book 
from him, she swept her eyes ovetj 
these pages, returned theybook to hirn^ 
and quoted copiously and correctly. J 



214 ASTOUNDI1 

DR. MUNDSON gloated trium- 
phantly over his astonishment. 
"There, my, friend. Could you now be 
satisfied with old-fashioned children 
who spend long, expensive years in 
getting an education ? Of course, your 
children will not haye- the perfect 
brains of these, yet, developed under 
the Life Ray, they should have splen- 
did mentality 1 . 

"These children, through selective 
breeding, have brains that make ever- 
lasting records instantly. A page in a 
book, once seen, is indelibly retained 
by them, and understood. The same is 
true of a lecture, of an explanation 
given by a teacher,. of even idle con- 
versation. Any. man or [woman in this 
room should be able to' repeat the most 
trivial conversation diyis old." 

"But what of the arts, Dr. Mundson? 
Surely even your supermen and women 
cannot instantly learn to paint a mas- 
terpiece or to guide their fingers and 
their brains through the intricacies of 
a difficult musical composition." 

"No?" His dark eyes glowed. "Come 
see I" 

Before they entered another wing of 
the building, they heard a violin being 
played masterfully. 

Dr. Mundson paused at the door. 

"So that you may understand what 
you shall see, let me remind you that 
the nerve impulses and the coordinat- 
ing means in the human body are pure- 
ly electrical. The world, has not yet 
accepted my theory, but it will. Under . 
superman's system of education, the 
instantaneous records made on the 
brain give immediate skill to the acting 
parts of the body. Accordingly, musi- 
cians' are made over night." 

He threw open the door. Under a 
Life Ray projector, a beautiful, Juno- 
esque woman was playing a violin. 
Facing her, and with eyes fastened to 
hers, stood a young man, whose arms 
and slender fingers mimicked every 
motion she made. Rresently she stopped 
playing and handed the violin to him. 
In her own masterly manner, he re- 
peated the score she had played. 



G STORIES 

'•»■ 

'.That is Eve," whispered Dr. MuogV 
son. "I had selected her as Adamfe 
wife. But he does not want her, the 
most brilliant woman of the New Race." 
' Northwood gave the woman an ap- 
praising look. "Who wants - a perfect 
woman? I don't blame Adam for pre- 
ferring Athalia. But how is she teach- 
ing her pupil?" 

"Through thought vibration, which 
these perfect people have developed 
until they can record permanently the 
radioactive waves of the brains of 
others." 

Eve turned, caught Northwood's eyes 
in her magnetic blue gaze, and smiled 
as only a goddesA can smile upon i 
mortal she has maSd as her own. She.' 
came toward him with outflung hands. 

"So you* have cornel" Her vibrant 
contralto voice, like Adam's, held the 
birdlike, ' broken tremulo of a young 
child's. "I have been waiting for yon, 
John Northwood." ! 

HER dyes, as bine and icy ■ 
Adam's, lingered long on htm, 
until he flinched from their steely 
magnetism. She slipped her am 
through his. and drew him gently but 
firmly from the room, while Dr. Mund- 
son stood gaping after them. 

They ' were on a flagged terrace 
arched with roses, of gigantic sue, 
which sent forth billows of sensuous 
fragrance. Eve led him to a while 
marble seat piled with silk cushions, 
on which she reclined her superb body, 
while she regarded him from narrowed 
lids. 

"I saw your picture that he tele- 
visioned to Athalia," she said. "What t 
botch ' Dr. Mundson has made of Ids 
mating." Her laugh rippled like falling 
water. "I want you, John NorthwoodP 

Northwood started and blushed furi- 
ously. Smile dimples broke aroundjKr 
red, humid lips. 

"Ah, you're old-fashioned I" " 

Her large,-- beautiful hand, fleshed 
more tenderly than any woman's hand 
he had ever seen, went out to him sp- 
pealingly. "I can bring you amorous 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



215 



delight that your Athalia -never could 
offer in her few years of youth. And 
I'll never grow old, John Northwood." 

She came closer until he could feel 
the fragrant warmth of (her tawny, 
ribbon bound Jiair pulse against his 
face. In sudden panic he drew back. 

"But I am pledged to Athalia I" 
tumbled from him. "It is all a dreadful 
mistake Eve. You and Adam were 
created for each other." 

"Hush I" The lightning that flashed 
from her blue eyes changed he"r from 
seductress to angry goddess. "Created 
for each other I Who wants a made-to- 
measure lover?" 

THE luscious lips trembled slight- 
ly, and into the vivid eyes crept 
i suspicion of moisture. Etetnal Eve's 
weapons I Northwood's handsome face 
relaxed with pity. 

"I want you, John Northwood," she 
continued shamelessly. "Our love will 
be sublime." She leaned heavily against 
him, and her lips were like a blood red 
flower pressed against white satin. 
"Come, beloved, kiss met" 

Northwood gasped and turned his 
head. "Don't, Eve I" 

"But a kiss from me will set you 
apart from all your generation, John 
Northwood, and you shair understand 
what no man of the Black Age could 
possibly fathom." 

Her hair had partly fallen from its 
ribbon bandage and poured its fragrant 
gold against his shoulder. 

"For God's sake, don't tempt me I" he 
groaned. "What do you mean?" 

That mental and physical and spiri- 
tual contact- with me will temporarily 
give you, a three-dimension creature, 
the power of the new sense, which 
your race wjH not have for fifty thou- 
sand years." 

White-lipped and trembling, he de- 
manded: "Explain!" , 

Eve smiled. "Have you not guessed 
that Adam has developed an additional 
•cue? You've Been him vanish. He and 
I have the sixth sense of Time Percep- 
tion — the new sense which enables, us 



to penetrate what you of the Black Age 
call .the Fourth Dimension. Even you 
whose mentalities are framed by three 
dimensions have, thja^ sixth sense in- 
stinct. Your very religion is based on 
it, for you believe that in another life 
you shall step into Time, or, as you 
call it, eternity.'' She leaned closer so 
that her hair brushed his cheek. "What 
is eternity, John Northwood? It it not 
keeping forever ahead* of tEe Destroy- 
er? The future is eternal, for it is 
never reached. Adam and I, .through 
our new sense which comprehends 
Time and Space, can vanish by stepping 
a few seconds into the future, the 
Fourth Dimension of Space. Death can 
never reach us, not even accidental 
death; unless that which causes death 
could also slip into the future, which 
is not 'yet possible." 

"But if the Fourth Dimension is 
future Time, why can one in the third 
dimension feel the touch of an unseen 
presence in the Fourth Dimension — 
t hear his voice, even ?" 

"Thought vibration. The touch is not 
really felt nor the voice heard:. they 
are only imagined. The radioactive 
waves of the brain of even you Black 
Age people are swift enough to bridge 
Space and. Time. And it is the mind 
that carries us beyond the third dimen- 
sion." 

HER red mouth reached closer to 
him, her blue eyes touched hid- 
den forces that slept in remote cells 
of his being. You are going into 
Eternal Time, John Northwood, Eter- 
nity without beginning or end. You 
understand? You feel it? Comprehend 
it? Now for the contact— kfss met" 

Northwood had seen Athalia vanish 
under Adam's kiss. Suddenly, in one 
mad burst of understanding,' he leaned 
over to. his magnificent temptress. 

For a' split second he felt the sweet 
pressure of baby-soft lips, and then 
the atoms of his body seemed to fly 
assunasp. Black chaos held him for 
a frightful moment before he felt 
sanity return. 



216 



^ASTOUNDING STORIES 



He was back on the terrace again, 
with Eve by hit side. They were stand- 
ing now. The world about him looked 
the same, yet there was a subtle, change 
in' everything. 

Eve laughed softly. "It is puzzling, 
isn't it? ^You're seeing everything as 
in a mirror. What was left before is 
now right. Only you and I are real. 
All else is but a vision, a. dream. For 
now you and I are existing one minute 
in future time, or, more simply, we are 
in the? Fourth Dimension. To every- 
thing in the third dimension, we are 
invisible. Let me show you that Dr. 
Mundson cannot see you." 

They went back to the room beyond 
the terrace. Dr. Mundson was not 
present. 

''There he goes down the jifngle 
path," said Eve, looking out a window. 
She laughed. "Poor old fellow. The 
children of his genius are worrying 



THEY' were standing in the' recess 
, formed by a bay window. Eve 
picked up his hand and laid it against 
her face, giving him the full, blasting 
glory of her smiling blue eyes. 

Northwood, looking away miserably, 
uttered a low cry. Coming over the 
field beyond were Adam and Athalia. 
By the trimming on the blue dress she 
wore, he could see that she was still 
in. the Fourth Dimension, for he did 
not see her as a mirror image. 

A look of fear leaped to Eve's face, 
She clutched Northwood's arm, trem- 
bling. 

"I don't want Adam to see that I have 
passed you beyond," she gasped. "We 
are existing but one . minute in the 
future. Always Adam and I have feared 
to pass too far beyond the sweetness of 
reality. But now, so that Adam may 
not see us, we shall step five minutes 
into what-is-yet-to-be. And even he, 
with all his power, cannot see into a 
future thatiis more distant than that 
in which he exists." 

She raised her humid lips to his. 
"Come, beloved." 



Northwood kissed her. 'Again came 
the moment of confusion, of the awful 
vacancy that was Uke death, and then 
he found himself and Eve in the labo- 
ratory, following Adam and AthaUa 
down a long' corridor. Athalia was cry- 
•ing and pleading frantically with 
Adam/ Once she stopped and threw 
herself at his feet in a gesture of 
dramatic supplication, arms outflung, 
streaming eyes wide open; with fear. 

Adam stooped and lifted her "gently 
and. continued on his way, supporting 
her, against his side. 

EVE dug her fingers into North- 
wood's arm. Horror contorted 
her face, horror mixed with rage; 

"My mind, hears what he is saying, 
understands the vile plan be has made, 
John Northwood. He is oh his way to 
his laboratory to 'destroy not only you 
and most of these in New Eden, but 
me as well. He wants only Athalia." 

Striding forward like an avenging 
goddess, she pulled Northwood after 
her. 

"Hurry I" she whispered. "Remember, 
you and I are five minutes in the future, 
and Adam is only one. We aret witness 
ing what will occur four minutes front 
now. We yet have time to reach the 
. laboratory before him and be ready lot 
him when he enters. And because he 
will have to go back to Present Time 
to do his work of destruction, I will 
be able to destroy him. Ah I" 

Fierce joy burned in her flashing 
blue eyes, and her slender nostrils 
quivered- delicately. Northwood, peep- 
ing at her in hqrjor, knew that no 
mercy could be expected of her. And 
when she stopped at a certain door and 
inserted a Iteyf he Remembered Athalia. 
What if she should enter with Adam 
in Present Time? 

THEY we.re inside Adam's labora- 
tory, a huge apartment filled with 
queer apparatus and cages of live ani- 
mals. The room was a strange paradox- . 
Part of fhe equipment, the walls, and 
the floor was glistening with newness, 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



217 



sad part was rSvulding^with extreme 
fgt. The powers of disintegration that 
haunt a tropical forest seemed to be 
devouring certain spots of ' the room. 
Here, -in the midst of bright marble, 
ms a section of wall that seemed as 
old as the pyramids. The surface of the 
itone had an appalling mouldiness, as 
though it had been lifted from an an- 
cient graveyard where it had lain in the 
festering ground for unwholesome cen- 
turies. 

Between cracks in this stained and 
decayed section of stone grew fetid 
moss that quivered with the micro- 
scopic organisms that infest age-rotten 
places. Sections of the flooring and 
woodwork also reeked with mustiness. 
In one dark, webby corner of the room 
lay a pile of bleached bones, still tinted 
with the ghastly grays and pinks of 
putrefaction. Northwood, overwhelm- 
ingly nauseated, withdrew his eyes 
from the bonea, only to see, in another 
corner, a pile of worm-eaten clothing 
that lay on the floor in the outline of 
a man. 

Faint with the reek of ancient musti- 
est*, Northwood retreated to the door, 
dizzy and staggering. 

"It sickens you," said Eve, "and it 
sickens me also, for death and decay 
ire not pleasant. Yet Nature, left- to 
herself, reduces all to this. Every grave 
that has yawned to receive its pray 
hides corruption no less shocking. 
Nature's forces of 'creation and de- 
struction forever work in partnership. 
Never satisfied with her composition, 
•hr destroys and starts again, building, 
building towards the ultimate of per- 
fection. ThuB, it . is natural that if Dr. 
Mundson isolated the Life ' Ray, Na- 
ture's supreme force of compensation, 
isolation of the Death 1 Ray should 
closely follow. Adam, thirsting for 
power, has succeeded. A few sweeps 
of his unholy ray of decomposition 
will undo all Dr. Mundson's work in 
tins valley and reduce it to a stinking 
holocaust of destruction. And the time 
for his striking has cornel" y 

She seized his face and drew it to- 



ward her. "Quick I" she said. "We'll 
have to go back to the third dimension. 
I could leave,you safe in the fourth, 
but if anything should happen to me, 
you would be stranded forever in future 
time." 

She kissed his lips. In a moment, he 
was back in the old familiar world, 
where right is right and left is left. 
Again the subtle change wrought by 
Eve's magic lips had taken place. 

EVE went to a 'machine standing in 
a corner of the room. 
"Come here and' get behind me, John 
Northwood. I want to test it before he 
enters." 

Northwood stood behind her shoul- 
der. 

"Now watch |" she ordered. "I shall 
turn it on one of those cages of guinea- 
pigs over there." 

She swung the projector around, 
' pointed it at' the cage of small, squeal- 
ing animals, and threw a lever. Instant- 
ly a cone of black mephitis shot forth, 
f a loathsome, bituminous stream of 
putrefaction that reeked of the grave 
and the cesspool, of the utmost reaches 
of decay before the dust accepts the 
disintegrated atoms. Ttoe, first touch of 
seething, pitchy destruction brought 
screams of sudden agony from the 
guinea pigs, but the screams were cut 
short as the little animals fell in shock- 
ing, instant decay. The very cage which 
imprisoned them shriveled and- re- 
treated from the hellish,' devouring 
breath that struck its noisome rot into 
the heart of the wood and the metal, 
reducing both to revolting ruin. 

Eve cut off the frightful power, and 
the black cone disappeared, leaving the 
room putrid with its defilement. 

"And Adam would do that to the 
world," she said, her blue eyes like 
electric-shot icicles. "He would do it 
to you, John Northwood — and to me J" 
Her full bosom strained under the 
passion beneath. 

"Listen I" She raised her hand warn- 
ingly. "He corneal The destroyer 
i comes I" 



218 -ASTOUND! 

« 

A HAND was at the door'. Eve 
reached for the lever, and, . the 
same moment, Northwood leaned over 
her imploringly. 

"If Athalia is with him I" he gasped. 
"You will not harm her?" 

A wild shriek at the door, a "slight 
scuffle, and then the doorknob was 
wrenched as though two were fighting 
over it. 

"For God's sake. Eve I" implored 
Northwood. "Wait I Wait I" 

"No I She shall (lie, too. You love 
her I" 

, Icy, cruel eyes <ut Into him,' and a 
new-fleshed hand tried to push him 
aside. The door was straining open. A 
( beloved voice shrieked. I "John!" 

Ev,e and Northwood both leaped for 
the lever. Under her tender white flesh 
she was as strong as a man. In the 
midst- of the struggle, her red, humid 
lips approached his— closer. Closer. 
Their merest pressure would thrust 
him into Future Time, Where the labor- 
'ratory and all it contained would be 
but a shadow, and where he would be 
helpless to interfere with her terrible 
will. 

He saw the door 9pen and Adam 
stride into/the room. Behind him, ly- 
ing prone tn the hall where she had 
probably fainted, was Athalia. In a 
mad burst of strength he touched the 
lever together with Eve. 

The projector/belching forth its 
stinking breath of corruption swung in 
a mad arc qver the ceiling, over >the 
walls — and then straight at Adam. 

Then, quicker than thought, came the 
accident. Eve, attempting to throw 
Northwood off, trippejl, fell half over 
the machine, and, with a short scream 
of despair, dropped, 'into the black 
path of destruction, j 

NORTHWOOD paused, horrified. 
The Death Ray was pointed at 
an inner wall of the room, which, even 
as he looked, crumbled and disap- 
peared, bringing down upon him dust 
more foul than any obscenity the 
bowels of the earth might yield. In an 



G STORIES * 

instant the black cone ate through tkj 
outer parts of the building, when 
crashing stone and screams that wen 
more horrible because of their short- 
ness followed the ruin that swept fat 
into the fair reaches of the valley. 

The paralyzing odor of decay took 
his breath, numbed his muscles, until, 
of all that huge building, the wall be-' 
hind him and one small section of tat 
room by the doorway alone remained 
whole. He was trying to nerve himself 
to reach for the lever close to that 
quiet formless thing still partly draped 
Over the machine, when a faint 8b nod 
in the door electrified him. At first, at 
dared not look, but his own name, 
spoken almost in a gasp,, gave has 
courage. 

Athalia lay on the floor, apparently 
untouched. 

He jerked the lever violently before 
running to her, exultant with the 
knowledge that his own efforts to keep 
the ray from the door had saved bet. 

"And you're not hurt I" He gathered 
her slose. 

"John I I saw it get Adam." She 
pointed to a new mound of mouldy 
clothes on the floor. "Oh, it is hideom 
for me to be so glad, but he was going 
to destroy everything and everyone ex- 
cept me. He made the ray projector 
'for that one purpose." 

Northwood looked over the pill of 
putrid ruins which a few minutes tg*r 
had been a building. There was not I 
wall left intact. 

"His intention is accomplished, Atht- 
lia," he said sadly. "Let's get out before 
more stones fall." 

IN a moment the^ were in the opes, 
An ominous • stillness seemed ts 
grip the very air — the awful silence of 
the polar wastes which lay not fat 
beyond the mountains. - 

"How dark it is, John I" cried Atha- 
lia. "Dark and cold I" 

"The sunshine projector!'' gasped 
Northwood. "It must have been de- 
stroyed. Look, dearest! The goldea 
light has disappeared." , < 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



219 



"And the warm air of the valley will 
Uft immediately.' That means a polar 
blixzard." She shuddered and clung 
closer to him. "I've seen Antarctic 
■tonus, John. They're death." 

Northwood avoided her eyes. "There's 
the sun-sbjp. We'll give the ruins the 
joce oyer in case there are any sur- 
vivors; then, we'll save ourselves." 

Eyen a cursory examination of the 
mouldy piles of stone and dust con- 
vinced them that there could be no 
turrivers. The ruins looked as though 
they had lain in those crumbling piles 
for centuries. Northwood, smothering 
his repugnance, stepped among them — 
tmong the green, slimy stones and the 
unspeakable revolting debris, stagger- 
ing* back and faint and shocked when 
be came upon dust that was ( once 
human. 

"God!" he groaried, hands over eyes. 
"We're alone, .Athalial Alone in a 
chamal house. The laboratory housed 
the entire population, didn't it?" 

"Yes. Needing^ no sleep nor food, 
we did not need houses. We all worked 
here,' under Dr. Mundson's general- 
ship, and, lately under Adam's, like a 
little band of soldiers fighting for a 
great cause." 

"Let's go to the sun-ship, dearest." 

"But Daddy Mundson was in the 
library," sobbed Athalia. "Let's look 
for him a little longer." 

SUDDEN remembraaee came to 
Northwood. "No, Athalial He left 
the library. I saw him go down the 
jungle path several minutes before I 
and Eve went to Adam's laboratory." 

"Then he might be safe I" • Her eyes 
danced. "He might have gone to the 
mn-ehip." 

(Shivering, she slumped against him. 
"Oh; John I I'm cold." 

Her face was blue. Northwood jerked 
off his coat and wrapped it around her, 
taking the intense cold against his un- 
protected shoulders. The low, gray sky 
wis rapidly darkening, and the feeble 
light of the sun could scarcely pierce 
the clouds. It was disturbing to know 



that even the summer temperature in 
the Antarctic wis far. below zero. 

"Come, girl," said Northwood grave- 
ly. "Hurry I It's snowing." 

They started to run down the road 
through the narrow strip of jungle. 
The Death Ray had cut huge swathes 
in the tangle of trees and vines, and 
now areas of heaped debris, livid, with 
the colors of recent decay, exhaled a 
mephitic humidity altogether alien to 
the snow that fell an soft, slow flakes. 
.Each hesitated to voice the new fear: 
had the Bun-sh,ip been destroyed? 
. By the time they reached the . open 
field, the snow stung their flesh like 
sharp needles, but it was not yet- thick 
enough to hide from them a hideous 
fact! 

\The sun-ship was gone. 

IT might have occupied one of sever- 
al black, foul areas a& the, green 
grass, where the searching Death Ray 
had made the very soil putrefy, and 
the rocks' crumble into shocking dust. 

Northwood snatched Athalia to him, 
f too full of despair to speak. A sudden 
terrific flurry of snow whirled around 
them, and they were almost blown from 
their feet hy the icy wind that tore 
oven the unprotected field. 

"It won't be long," said Athalia 
faintly. "Freezing doesn't hurt, John, 
dear." 

"It isn't fair, Athalial There never 
would have been such a marriage as 
ours. Dr. Mundson searched the world 
to bring us together." ' 

"For scientific experiment!"' she 
sobbed. "I'd rather die, John. I want 
an old-fashioned home, a Black Age 
family. I want to grow old with you 
and leave the earth to my children. 
Or else I want to die here now under 
the kind, white blanket the snow is 
already spreading over us." She 
drooped in his arms. 

Clinging together, they stood in the 
howling wind, looking at each other 
hungrily, as though they would snatch 
from death, this one last picture of the 
other. 



220 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Northwood's freezing lips translated 
some of the futile words that crowded 
against them. "I love you because you 
are- not perfect. I hate perfection I" 

"Yes. Perfection is the only hope- 
less state, John. That is why Adam 
wanted to destroy, so that he might 
build again." 

They were sitting in the snow now, 
for they were very tired. The storm 
began whistling louder, as it hough it 
were only a few fee* above their heads. 

"That sounds almost like the sun- 
ship," »said Athalia drowsily. 

"It's only the wind. Hold your face 
down so it won't strike your flesh so 
cruelly." 

"I'm not Buffering. I'm getting warm 
again." She smiled at him sleepily. 

LITTLE icicles began to form on 
their clothing, and the powdery 
snow frosted their uncovered hair. 

Suddenly came a familiar voice: 
"Ach Gottl" 

Dr. Mundson stood before them, 
covered with snow until he looked like 
a polar bear. , 

"Get up I" he shouted. "Quick 1 To 
the sun-ship I" 

He seized Athalia and jerked her to 
her feet. She looked at him sleepily 
for a moment, and then threw, herself 
at him and hugged him frantically. 
"You're not dead?" 
Taking each by 'the arm, he half 
dragged them to the stln-ship, which 
had landed .only a few feet away. In 
a few minutes he had hot brandy for 
them. 



Whjle they sipped greedily, hi 
talked, between working the sun-ahip'i 
controls. 

"No, I wouldn't say it was a lucky 
moment that drew me to the sun-ship, 
When I Baw Eve trying to charm Jona, 
I had what you American slangiibj 
call a hunch, 'which 'sent me to the 
sun-ship to get it off the ground n 
that Adam couldn't commandeer ft. 
And what is a hunch but a mental 
penetration .into the Fourth Dimes, 
sion?" For a long moment, he broodst, 
absent-minded. "I was in the air what-, 
the black ray, which I suppose f 
Adam's deviltry, began to delta 
everything it touched. From a itp 
elevation I saw it wreck all my wash? 
A sudden spasm crossed his face. Tsj 
flown over the entire valley. We're ffci 
only survivors — thank God I" 

"And so at last<you confess that ttk 
not well to tamper with human lifer 
Northwood, warmed with hot branty,. 
was his old self again. 

"Oh, I have not altogether wastes' - 
my efforts. I went to elaborate pans 
to bring together a perfect man audi 
perfect woman of what Adam callsf 
our Black Age." He smiled at then 
whimsically. 

"And who can say to what eiteqt 
you have thus furthered natural evolu- 
tion?" Northwood slipped his tin 
around Athalia. "Our children might 
be more than geniuses, Doctor P 

Dr. Mundson nodded his huge, 
shaggy head gravely. 

"The true instinct of a Creature of 
the Light," he declared. 

# 



/ REMEMBER 

ASTOUNDING STORIES 

1 

Appears on Newsstands 
THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EACH MONTH 



Into Space 

By Sterner St. Paid 



MANY of my readers will re- 
member the mysterious ra- 
dio messages which were 
heard by both amateur and 
professional short wave operators dur- 
ing the nights of 
the twenty -third 
nd twenty- 
fourth of last 
September, and 
mo more will re- 



What was the e * irkardl n ary connection 
between Dr. Livermore's sudden dis- 
appearance and the coming of a new 
satellite to the Earth? 



the as- 
tounding discovery made by Professor 
VomteMue of the Lick Observatory on 



221 



the night of September twenty-fifth. 
At the time, some inspired writers tried 
to connect the two events,' maintaining 
that the discovery of the fact that the 
earth had A new satellite coincident 
with the receipt 
of the mysterious 
messages was evi- 
dence that the 
new planetoid 
was inhabited and 
that the messages 
were attempts on the part of the in- 
habitants to communicate with us. 



222 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The fact that the messages were on a 
lower wave length than any receiver 
then in existence could receive with 
and degree of clarity, and the additional' 
fact that they appeared to come from 
an immense distance lent a certain air 
of plausibility to these ebulitions in' 
the Sunday magazine sections. For. 
some weeks the feature writere harped 
on the subject, but the hurried conl 
struction of new receivers which woulfl 
work on a lower wave length yielded n,*. 
results, and the solemn pronounce- 
ments of astronomers to the effect that 
the new celestial body could by no pos- 
sibility have an atmosphere on account 
of its small size finally put an end to 
the talk. So the matter lapsed into 
oblivion. 

While quite a few people will re- 
member the two events | I have noted, I 
doubt whether there are five hundred 
people alive who will remember any- 
thing at all about the disappearance of 
Dr. Livermore of the University of 
Calvada on September twenty-third. 
He was a man of some local promi- 
nence, but he had no more than a local 
fame, and few papers outside of Cali- 
fornia even noted the event in their 
columns. I do" not think that anyone 
ever tried to connect up his disapper- 
ance with the radio messages or the dis- 
covery of the new earthly satellite ; yet 
the three events were closely bound up 
together, and but for the Doctor's dis- 
appearance, the other two would never 
have happened. 

DR. LIVERMORE taught physics 
at Calvada, or at least he taught 
the subject when be remembered that ' 
he' had a class and felt like teaching. 
His students never knew whether he 
would appear at class or not; but he 
always passed every one who took his 
courses and so, of course, they were al- 
ways crowded. The University author- 
ities used to remonstrate with him, but 
his ability as a research worker was so 
well known and recognized that he was 
allowed to do about as he pleased. He 
was a bachelor who lived alone and who 



had no interests in life, so far ai a*, 
one knew, other than his work. 

I first made contact with him what 
I was a freshman at Calvada, and fm 
some unknown reason he took a ijn» 
to me. My father had insisted thai 
follow in his footsteps as an elecnioi 
engineer; as he was paying my bilk, I 
had to make a show at studying » 
gineering while I clandestinely ps> 
sued my hobby, literature. Dr. lin- 
more's courses were the easiest in tks 
school and they counted as science, m 
I regularly registered for then, cat 
them, and attended a class in literate 
as an auditor. The Doctor used to awt 
me on the campus and laughingly scall 
me for my absence, but. he was rest) 
in sympathy with my ambition and at 
regularly gave me a passing mark mt 
my. units of credit without regard fe) 
my attendance, or, rather, lack of it 

When I graduated from Cahadi I 
was theoretically an electrical. «agk 
neer. Practically I had a pretty pal 
knowledge of contemporary litenhn 
and knew almost nothing about my w 
called profession. I stalled trews 1 . 
Dad's office for a few months dntfil 
landed a job as a cub reporter on the 
San Francisco Graphic and then I qrit 
him cold. When the storm blew ofs, 
Dad admitted that you couldn't nafat 
a silk purse out of a sow's ear isj 
agreed with a grunt to my new line af 
work. He said that I would probity 
be a better reporter than an engines: 
because I couldn't by any possibility bt 
a worse one, and let it go at that Ho* ' 
ever, all this has ^nothing to do wA 
the' story. It just explains how I am 
to be acquainted with Dr. Liveroasc, 
in the first place, and why he seat to 
me on September twenty-scond, ia m 
second place. 

THE morning of the twenty ncjbJ 
the City Editor called me haw 
asked me if I knew "Old Lr» 
pills." 

"He says that he has a good stay 
ready to break bat he won't talk to mf 
one but you," went on Barnes. 1 * 



INTO SPACE 



223 



feed to send out a good man, for when 
Old Liverpills starts a story it ought 
to be good, but all I got was a high 
mi tied bawling out. He said that he 
vsnld talk to you or no one and would 
jsst as soon talk to no one as to me any 
fcBger. Then he hung up. You'd bet- 
ter take a run out to Calvada and see 
yjut be has to say. I can have a good 
fan re-write your drivel when you get 
tack." 

I was more or less used to that sort 
of talk from 'Barnes so I paid no atten- 
tion to it. I drove my flivver down to 
Cuftda and asked for the Doctor. 

"Dr. Livermore?" said the bursar. 
"Why, he hasn't been around here for 
fa kit ten mohths. This is his sab- 
kadeal year and he is spending it on 
lanch he owns up, at Hat 'Creek, near 
Haunt Lassen. You'll .have to go there 
U yon want to sea him." 
~ I knew better than to report back to 
Bancs without the story, so there was 
atffcteg to it but to drive up to Hat 
Creek, and a long, hard drive it was. 
I nwle Redding late that night ; the 
oat day I drove on to Bumey and 
■ked for directions to the Doctor's 



*8o you're going up ta Doc Liver- 
■gre't, are you?" asked the Postmas- 
kc, my informant. "Have you 1 got an 
Mtation?" 

I assured him that I had. 

It's a good thiijg," he replied, "be- 
erne he don't allow anyone on his 
fhee without one. I'd like to go up 
Aert myself and see what's going on, 
k* I don't want to get shot at like 
ttd J*«te Johnson did when he tried 
tt drop, in on the Doc and pay him a 
stale call. There's something mighty 
many going on up there." 

NATJJRALLY I tried to find out 
what -Was going on but evidently 
tat Postmaster, who was also the ex- 
W*m agent, didn't know. All he could 
••B.nie was that a "lot of junk" had 
for the Doctor by express and 
*»t « lot. more had been hauled in by 
•Wek from Redding. 



1 "What kind of junk?" I asked him, 
/.-."Almost* everything. Bub: sheet 
$rtfeel, machinery, batteries, cases of 
glay, and Lord knows what all. It's 
been, going on ever Bince he . landed 
there. He has a bunch of Indians work- 
ing for him and he don't let a white 
man on the place." 

Forced to be satisfied with this 
meager information, I started old Liz- 
zie and lit out for the ranch. After I 
had turned off the' main trail I met 
no one until the ranch house was in 
sight. As I rounded a bend in the road 
which brought me in sight of the build- 
ing, I was. forced to put on my brakes 
at top spaed to avoid running into a 
chain which was stretched across the 
road. An .Indian armed with a Win- 
chester rifle stood behind it, and when 
I stopped he came up and asked my. 
business. ' ' 

"My business is ' with Dr. Liver- 
more," I said tartly. 

" r You got letter?" he inquired. 

"No," I answered. 

"No ketchum letter, no ketchum Doc- 
tor," he repliaU, and walked stolidly 
back to his post. 

"This is absurd," I shouted, and 
drove Lizzie up to the chain. I saw 
that it was merely hooked to a ring 
at the end, and I climbed out and 
started to take it down. A thirty-thirty 
bullet embedded itself in the pott an 
inch or two from my head, and I 
changed my mind about taking down 
that chain. 

"No ketchum letter, no ketchum Doc- 
tor," said the Indian laconically as he 
pumped another shell into his gun. 

* 

1WAS balked, until I noticed a .pair 
of telephone wires running from 
the house to the tree to which one. end 
of the, chain was fastened. 

"Is that a telephone to the house?" 
I demanded. 
The Indian grunted an assent 
"Dr. Livermore telephoned me to 
come and see him," I said. "Can't I 
call him up andisee if he still wants to 
see me?" 



22.4 ASTOUND! 

<-Tbe Indian debated the question 
with himself for a minute and then 
nodded a doubtful assent. I cranked 
the old c0ffee mill type of telephone 
which I found, and presently heard the 
voice of Dr. Livermore. 

"This is Tom Faber, Doctor," I said. 
"The Graphic sent me up to get a story 
from . you, but there's an Indian here 
who started to murder me when I tried 
to get past your barricade." 

"Good for him," chuckled the Doc- 
tor. "I heard the shot, but didn't know 
'that he was shooting at you. Tell him 
to talk to me." 

The Indian took the telephone at 
my bidding and listened for a minute. 

"You go in," he agreed when he hung 
up the receiver. 

He took down the chain and I drove 
on up to the house, to find the Doctor 
waiting for me on the veranda. 

"Hello, Tom," he greeted me heart- 
ily. "So you had trouble with my 
guard, did you?" 

"I nearly got murdered," I said rue- 
fully. 

"I expect that Joe would have drilled 
you if' you had tried to force your way 
in," he remarked cheerfully. "I forgot 
to tell him that you were coming to- 
day. I told him you would be here 
yesterday, but yesterday isn't to-day to 
that Indian. I wasn't sure you would 
get here at all, in point of fact, for I 
didn't know whether that old fool I. 
talked to in your office would send you 
or some one else. If anyone else had 
been sent, he would have never' got by 
Joe, I can tell you. Come in. Where's 
yonr bag?" . 

"I haven't one," I replied. "I went 
to.Calvada yesterday to see you,. and 
didn't know until I got there that you 
were up here." 

The .Doctor chuckled. 

"I guess I forgot to tell where I 
was," he said. "That man I talked to 
got me so mad that I hung up on him 
before I told himi It doesn't matter, 
though. I can dig" you up a new tooth- 
brush, and I guess you can make out 
with that. Come in." 



IC STORIES 

1 FOLLOWED him .into the boo* 
and he showed me a room fittel 
with a crude bunk, a washstand, a boa] 
and .a pitcher. 

"You won't have many lurnrij 
here, Tom," he said, "but you wort 
need to stay here for more than.* hi 
days. My work is done: I am rest) 
to start. In fact, I would have starts] 
yesterday instead of to-day, had jm 
arrived. Now don't ask any questiooi; 
it's nearly lunch time." v 

"What's the story, Doctor?" I trial 
after'luneh as I puffed one of hit » 
cetlent cigars. "And why. did yen pick 
me to tell it to?" 

"For several reasons," he replied, If. 
noring my first question. "In the firs 
place, I like you and I think thatyar 
can keep your mouth shut until jm 
are told to open it. In the second bIsr, 
I have always found that you hid tat 
gift of vision or imagination and bnt 
the ability to believe. In the ttU 
place, you are the only man I know 
who had the literary ability to write tf 
a good story and at the same time hn 
the scientific background to grasp wbn 
it is all about. Understand that imka 
. I have your promise not to write tsk 
story until I tell you that you can, art 
a word will I tell you." 

I reflected for a moment. TV: 
Graphic would expect the story what 
I got back, but on the other hind I 
knew tha.t unless I gave the' denial! 
promise, the Doctor wouldn't talk. 
"All right," I assented, 'Til prcmht' 
"Good I" he replied. * "In that cue, 
I'll tell you all about it. No doubt jm, 
like the reat of the world, think that 
I'm crazy?" 

"Why, not at all," I stammered la 
point of fact, I had often harbored 
such a suspicion. 

"Oh, that's all right," he went as 
cheerfully. "I am crazy, crazy •» • 
loon, which, by the way, is a highly 
sensible bird with a well balanced 
mentality. There is no doubt tint I 
am. crazy, but my craziness is not of 
the usual type. Mine is the insanity of 
genius." 



INTO SPACE ?25 

HE looked at me sharply as he "There are none so blind as those 

spoke, but long sessions at poker who will not see," he quoted with an 

In the San Francisco Press Cllib .had ,icy smile. "I can probably predict 

taught me how to control my facial your puerile argument, but go ahead 

muscles, and I never batted an eye. He. and present it." 
Itemed satisfied^ and went on. 

"From.your college work you are fa- "TF two magnets are placed so that 
miliar with the laws of magnetism," he X the, north pole of one' is in juxta- 
said. "Perhaps, considering just what position to the south pole of the other, 
your college career really was, I might they attract one another," I said. "If 
better say that you are supposed to be - the position of the magnets be reversed 
familiar with them." so that the two similar poles are eppo- 
I joined with him in his laughter. site, they will repel. If your theory 
'It Won't require a Very deep knowl- were correct, a man standing on his 
edge to follow the thread df my argu- head would fall off the' earth." 
■sent," he went on. "You • know, of "Exactly what I expected," he re- 
course, 'that the force of magnetic at- plied. "Now let me ask you a question, 
traction is inversely proportional to the Have you ever seen a small bar magnet 
square of the distances separating the placed within the field of attraction of 
magnet and the attracted particles, and a large electromagnet? Of course you 
also that each magnetized particle had have, and you have noticed that, when 
two. poles, a positive and a negative the north pole of the bar magnet was 
pole, or a north pole and a south pole, pointed toward the electromagnet, the 
as they are -usually called ?" bar was attracted. However, when the 
I nodded. bar was reversed and the south ,pole 
"Consider for a moment that the laws pointed' toward the electromagnet, the 
of magnetism, insofar' as concerns the bar was still attracted: You doubtless 
relation between distance and power of remember that experiment." 
attraction, are exactly matched by the f "But in that case the magnetism of 
laws of gravitation." the electromagnet was so large that the 
"But there the similarity between the polarity of the small magnet was re* 
two forces ends," I interrupted. versed I ) cried. . 

"But there the similarity does not "Exactly, and the field of gravity of 

end," he said sharply. "That is the the earth is so great compared to the 

crux of the discovery which I have gravity of k man that when he stands 

made: that magnetism, and gravity are on his head, his polarity is instantly 

one and the same, or, rather, that the reversed." 

two are separate, but similar manifests- I nodded. His explanation was too 

tioni of one force. The parallel be- logical for me to pick a flaw in it. 

tween the two grows closer with each "If that -same bar magnet were held 

succeeding experiment. You know, in the field of the electromagnet with 

for example, that each magnetized par- its north pole pointed toward the mag- 

ticle has two poles. Similarly each net arid then, by the action of some 

gravitized particle^ to coin a new word, outside force of sufficient -<power, its 

had two poles, one positive and one polarity were reversed,, the bar would 

negative. Every particle on the earth be repelled. If <he magnetism were 

is so oriented that the negative poles neutralized and held exactly neutral, 

point toward the positive center of the it would be neither repelled nor at- 

earth. This is what causes the com- tracted, but would act only as the force 

monly known phenomena of gravity or of gravity impelled it. Is that clear?" 

weight." "Petfectly," I absented. 

"I can prove the fallacy of that in a "That, then, paves the way for what* 

moment," I retorted. >■ I have to tell you. I have developed 



226 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 




an electrical method of neutralizing the 
gravity of a body while lit ia within 
the field of the earth, and also, by a 
■light extension, a methodj of entirely 
reversing its'polarity." 

IjMODDED calmly. 
"Do .you realize what this 
means?" he cried. 

"No," I replied, puzzled "by his great 
excitement. ' 

"Man alive," he cried, "it means that 
the problem of aerial flignjt is entirely 
revolutionized, and that trie era 6^ in 
terplanetary travel is at hand I S 
pose that I construct an airship an 
then render it neutral to gravity. ' It 
would weigh nothing, absolutely noth- 
ing! The tiniest propeller would drive 
it at almost incalculable speed with a 
minimum consumption of power, for 
the only resistance to its motion would 
be the resistance of the air. If I were 
to reverse the polarity, it would be re- 
pelled from the earth with the same 
force with which it is now attracted, 
and it would rise with the same accel- 
eration aa a body falls toward the 
earth.' It would travel to the moon in 
tWo hours and forty minutes." 
"Air resistance would — " 
''There is no air a few 'miles from the 
earth. Of course, I do not mean that 
such a craft would take off from the 
earth and land on the moon three hours 
later. There are two things which 
wou4d interfere with that. One is the 
fact that the propelling force, the grav- 
ity of the earth, would diminish as the 
square of the distance from the center 
of the earth, and the other is that when 
the band of neutral attraction, or rathe/ 
repulsion, between the earth apd the 
moon had. been reached, it would be 
necessary to decellerate so as to avoid 
a smash on landing. I have been over 
the whole thing and I find that it would 
take twenty-nine hours and fifty-two 
minutes to make the whole trip. The 
entire thing is perfectly possible. In 
fast, I have asked, you here to witness 
arrfl report the first interplanetary trip 
to be made." 



"Have you constructed such a de> 
vice?" I cried. r ' - 4 

"My space ship is finfshed and ready 
for your inspection," he replied. "If 
you will come with me, I will show it 
to you." 

HARDLY knowing what to believe, 
I followed him from the house" 
and to a huge barnlike structure, over 
a hundred feet high, which stood 
nearby. He opened the door and 
switched on .a light, and there before 
me yitood what looked at fist glance to 
a huge artillery shell, but of a size 
larger than any ever made. It was con- 
structed of sheet steel, and while the 
lower part was solid, the upper sections 
had 1 huge glass windows set in them. 
On ^he point was a mushroom shaped 
protuberance. It measured perhaps 
fifty feet in diameter and wafc one hun- 
dred and-\forty feet high, the Doctor 
informed me. A ladder led from the 
floor to a door about fifty feet from the 
ground. 

I followed the Doctor up the ladder 
ai\d into the space flier. The door led 
us into a comfortable living room 
through a dpuble door arrangement. 

"The whole hull beneath us," .ex- 
plained the Doctor, "is filled with .bat- 
teries and machinery except for a space 
in the center, where a shaft leads to a 
glass window in tfft bottom so that I 
can see behind me, so to speak. The 
space above is filled with storerooms 
and the air purifying apparatus. On 
this level is my bedroom, kitchen, and 
other living rooms, together with a 
laboratory and an observatory. There 
is a central control room located on 
an upper level, but it need seldom be 
entered, for the craft can be /controlled 
by a system of relays from this room or 
from any other room in the ship. I 
suppose that you .are more or lets 
familiar with imaginative stories of 
interplanetary travel?" 

I NODDED an assent. 
"In that case there is no use in 
going over the details of the air purl- 



INTO SPACE 



227 



fying and such matters," he said. "The 
Itory writers have worked out all that 
port of thing in great detail,' and there ' 
is nothing novel in my arrangements. 
I carry food and water for six months 
and air enough for two months by con- 
stant renovating. Have you arty ques- 
tion you wish to, ask?" > 

"One objection I have seen frequent- t 
]y raised to the idea of interplanetary 
travel is that the human body could not 
stand the rapid acceleration which 
would be necessary to attain speed 
enough to ever get anywhere. How do 
you overcome this?" 

"My dear boy, who knows what the 
human body can stand? When the 
locomotive was first invented learned 
■dentists predicted that, the Iimif of 
•peed was thirty miles an hour, as the 
human body could not stand a higher 
■peed. Today tlje human body stands 
■ speed of three hundred and sixty 
miles an hour without ill effects. At 
any rate, on my first trip I intend to 
take no chances. We know 4 that the 
body can stand an acceleration of 
thirty-two feet per second without 
trouble. That is the rate of' accelera- 
tion due to gravity and is the rate at 
which a body increases speed when it 
fills. This is the acceleration which I 
will use. 

"Remember, that the space traveled 
by a falling body in a vacuum is equal 
to one half the acceleration multiplied 
by the square of the elapsed time. The 
moon,/to which I intend to make my 
first trip, is only 280,000 miles, or 
1,4*8,400.000 feet, from us. With an 
acceleration of thirty-two feet per sec- 
ond, I would pass the moon two hours 
and forty minutes after leaving the 
earth. If I later take another trip, say 
to Mars, I will haye to find a means of 
increasing my acceleration, possibly 
by the use of the rocket principle. - 
Then will be time enough to worry 
about what my body will stand." V 
! A short calculation verified the 
figures the Doctor had given me, and I 
stood convinced. 

"Are you really going?" I asked. 



"Most decidedly. To repeat* I would 
have started yesterday, had you ar- 
rived. As it is, I am ready to start 
at once. We will go back to the house 
for a few minute* while I show you the 
location of an excellent telescope 
through which you may watch my 
progress, .and instruct you in the use 
of an ultra-short-wave receiver which 
I am confident will pierce the heaviest 
layer. With this I will keep in com- 
munication with/ you, although I have 
made no arrangements for you to send 
messages to me on this trip. I intend 
to go to the moon and land. I ■'will 
take atmosphere samples through an 
air port and, if there is an atmosphere 
which will support life, I will step out 
on the surface. If there is not, I will 
return to the earth." 

A PEW minutes was enough, for 
for me to grasp the simple 
manipulations which I would have to 
perform, and I followed hint again to 
the space flier. 

"How are you going to get it out?" I 
asked. # 
"Watch," he said. 

He worked some levers and the roof 
of the barn folded back, leaving the 
way clear for the departure of the 
huge projectile. I followed him in- 
side and he climbed the ladder. 

"When I shut the door, go, back to 
the house and test the radio," be di-_ 
rected. 

The door clanged shut and I has- 
tened into the house. His voice came 
plainly enough. I went back to the 
flier and waved him a final, farewell, 
which he acknowledged throagh a 
window; then I returned to the re- 
ceiver. A loud hum filled the air, and 
suddenly the projectile rose and flew 
out' through trie open roof, gaining 
speed rapidly until it was a mere speck 
in the sky. It vanished. ' I had n*o 
trouble ; in picking him up with the 
telescope. In fact, I could see the Doc- 
tor through one of the windows. 

"I have passed beyond the range of 
the atmosphere, Tom," came bis voice 



228 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



over the receiver, ."and I find that 
everything is going exactly as it 
should. . I feel no discomfort, and my 
only regret is that I did not install a 
transmitter in the house so' that you 
could talk to me; but there is no real 
necessity for it. I am going to make 
some observations now, but I will call 
you again with a report of progress in 
hajf-an-hour." 

FOR the rest of the afternoon and 
all of that night I received his mes- 
sages regularly, but with the coming 
of daylight they began to fade. By 
nine o'clock I could get only a word 
here and there. By noon I could hear 
nothing. I went to sleep hoping that 
the night would bring better reception, 
nor was I disappointed. About eight 
o'clock} I received a message, rather 
faintly,' but none the. less distinctly. 

"I regret more than ever thai I did 
not install a transmitter so that I could 
learn from you whether you are receiv- 
ing my messages," his voice said faint- 
ly. "I have no idea of whether you can 
hear me or not, but I will keep on re- 
peating this message every hour while 
my battery holds out. . It is now thirty 
hours since I left the. earth and I 
should be .on'.the moon, according to 
my calculations. But I am not, and 
never will be. I am caught at the neu- 
tral point where the gravity of the 
earth and the- moon are exactly equal. 

"I had relied on my tnomehtum to 
carry me over this point. Once over 



it, I expected to reverse my polarity 
and fall on the moon. My momentum 
did nof do so. If I keep my polarity 
as it was when I left the earth, both the 
earth and the moon repel me. If I ie- 
verse it, they both, attract me, and 
again I cannot move. If I had 
equipped my space flier with a rocket 
so that I could move a few miles, or 
even- a few feet, from the dead line, 
I could proceed, but I llid npt do so, 
and I cannot move forward or back. 
Apparently I am doomed to stay here 
until my air gives out. Then my body, 
entombed in my space ship, will end* 
lessly circle the earth as a satellite 
until the end of time. There is no 
hope for me, for long before a dupli- ' 
cate of my device, equipped with 
rockets could be -constructed and come 
to my rescue, my air would be ex- 
hausted. Cood-by, Tom. You may 
write your story as soon as you wish. 
I will repeat my message in one hour. 
Good-byl" 

At nine and at ten o'clock the mes- 
sage was repeated. At eleven it started 
again, but after a few sentences the 
sound suddenly ceased and the receiver 
went dead. I' thought that the fault 
was with the receiver and I toiled 
feverishly the rest of the night, but 
without result. I learned later that 
the messages heard all over the world 
ceased atfthe same hour. i 

The next moming Professor Mon- 
tescue announced his discovery of the 
world's new satellite. 



Coming — 

MURDER MADNESS 

An Extraordinary Four-Part Novel 
By MURRAY LEBVSTER 




The Beetle Horde 



By Victor Rouaaecai 

CONCLUSION 



TOMMY TRAVERS and James 
Dodd, of the Travers Antarctic 
Expedition, crash in their plane some- 
where near the South Pole, /and are 
uized by a swarm of man-sized beetles. 
They are carried 
down to Submun- 
dia, a world un- 
der the earth's 
crust, where the 
beetles have de- 
veloped their civilization to an amaz- 
ing point, using a wretched race of de- 
generated humans, whom they breed 
u cattle, for foed. 
The insect horde is ruled by a hu 



Bullets, shrapnel, shell — nothing can stop 
the trillions of famished^ man-siied beetles 
which, led by a madman, swe e p down 
over the human race. 



man from the outside world — a drug- 
doped madman. Dodd recognizes this 
man as Brain, the archaeologist who 
had been lost years before at the Pole 
and given up for dead by a world he 
had hated because 
it refused to ac- 
cept tys radical 
scientific theo- 
ries. His fiendish 
mind now plans 
the horrible revenge of leading his un- 
conquerable horde of monster insects 
forth to ravage the wt'rld, destroy the 
humafl race an& establish a new era— 
the era of the insect. 



229 



230 * 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The world has to be warned of the 
impending doom. The two, with 
Haidia^ a girl of Submundia, escape, 
and pass through menacing dangers to 
within two miles of the exit. There, 
suddenly, Tommy sees towering over 
him a creature that turns his blood 
cold — a gigantic prating mantis. Be- 
fore he has time to act, the monster 
springs at them I 

<S 

CHAPTER VII 
Through the Inferno 

FORTUNATELY, the monster 
miscalculated its leap. The 
huge legs, whirling through the 
air, came within a few inches 
of Tommy's head, but passed over him, 
and the mentis plunged into the 
stream. InBt&ntly the water was alive 
with leaping {things with faces of such 
grotesque horror that Tommy sat para- 
lyzed in his | rocking shell, unable to 
avert his eyejs. 

Things no jmore than a foot or two 
in length, to; judge from the- slender, 
eel-like bodies that leaped into the air, 
but things with catfish heads and ten- 
tacles, and eyes waving on stalks; 
things with j clawlike appendages to 
their ventral fins, and mouths that 
widened to fearful size, so that the 
Whole head seemed to disappear above 
them, disclosing fangs like wolves'. 
Instantly the; water was churned into 
phosphorescent fire as they precipi- 
tated themselves upon the struggling 
mantis, whose enormous form, extend- -1 
ing halfway from shore to shore, was 
covered with the river monsters, gnaw- 
ing, rending, tearing. 

Luckily the struggles of the dying 
monster carried it downstream instead 
of up. In a few moments the immedi- 
ate danger was past. And suddenly 
Haidia awoke, sat up. 

"Where are we?" she cried. "Oh, I 
cjm see 1^ I can seel Something has 
burned away from my eyes I I know 
this place. A wise man of my people 
once came here, and returned to tell of 
it, We must go on. ' Soon we shall be 



safe on the wide river. But there Is 
another way that leads to here. We 
must go ont We must go on I" 

Even as she spoke they heard the 
distant rasping of the beetle-legs. And 
before the shells were well in mid- 
current they saw the beetle horde com-' 
ing round the bend, in the front' of 
them Bram, reclining on his shell 
couch, and drawn fiy the eight trained, 
beetles. 

BRAM saw the fugitives, and a 
roar of ironic mirth broke from 
his lips, resounding high above the 
strident rasping of the beetle-legs, and 
roaring over the marshes. 

"I've got you, Dodd and 1 Travers," he 
bellowed, as the trained beetles hov- 
ered above the shell, canoes. lYon 
thought you were clever, but you're at 
my mercy.. Nov/s your last chance, 
Dodd. I'll save you still if you'll sub- 
mit *o met if you'll admit that there 
were fossil monotrenfes before the 
' pleistocene epoch. Come, it's ae 
simple I Say it after me: 'The mar- 
supial lion — ' " 

"You go to hell I" yelled Dodd, 
nearly upsetting his shell as he shook 
his fist at his enemy. 

High above the rasping sound came 
DodM's shrill whistle. Just audible to 
human ears, though probably sounding 
like the roar of thunder to those of the 
beetles, there was no need to wonder 
what it was. 
It was the call to slaughter. 
Like a black cloud the beetles shot 
forward. A serried phalanx covered 
the two men and the girl, hovering ■ 
■ few feet overhead, the long legs dang- 
ling to within arm's reach. And a 
terrible cry of fear broke from Haidia'a 
lips. 

Suddenly Tommy remembered 
Bran's cigarette-lighter. He pulled it 
from his pocket and ignited it. 

Small as the flame was, it was ac- 
tinically much more powerful than the 
brighter phosphorescence of the fungi 
behind them. The beetle-cloud over- 
head parted. The strident sound wal 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



231 



broken into* confused buzzing as the 
terrified, blinded beetles plopped into 
the stream. 

None of them, fortunately, fell into 
either of the three shells, but the mass 
of struggling monsters in the water 
,nai hardly less formidable to the 
safety of the occupants than that men- 
acing cloud overhead. 

"Get clear!" Tommy yelled to Dodd, 
trying to help the shell along with his 
hands. 

HE heard. Brain's cry of baffled 
rage, and, looking backward, 
«6uld, not refrain from a laugh of 
triumph. B ram's trained steeds had« 
taken, fright and overset him. Bram 
had fallen into the. red mud beside the 
stream, from which he was struggling 
up, 'plastered from head to feet, and 
■baking his fists and evidently cursing, 
though his words could not be heard. 

"How about your marsupial lion 
now, Bram?" yelled Dodd. "No mono- 
Hemes before the pleistocene! D'you 
get that? That's my slogan, now and 
for ever more I" 

Bram shrieked and raved, and 
Kerned to be inciting the beetles to a 
renewed assault. The air was still 
thick with them, but Tommy was wav- 
ing .the cigarette-lighter in a naming 
ire, which. cleared the way for them. 

Then suddenly, came disaster. The 
Same went out! Tommy closed the 
lighter with a snap and opened it. Ih 
rain. In his 'excitement he must have 
rpilled all the contents, for it wVuld 
lot catch. ' 

Bram saw and yelled derision. The * 
wetle-cloud was thickening. Tommy, 
low abreast of his companions on the 
widening stream, saw the imminent 
ad. 

A ND then once more fate inter- 
nk. vened. For, leaping through the 
tr out of the- places where they had 
tin concealed, six mantiscs launched 
hemselves at their beetle prey. 
.Those awful bounds of the long- 
egged monsters, the scourges of the 



insect world, carried them clear from 
one bank to the other — fortunately for 
the occupants of the shells. In an in- 
stant the beetle-cloud dissolved. And 
it had all happened in a few seconds. 
Before Dodd or Tommy had quite 
taken in the situation, the mantiscs, 
each carrying a victim in its grooved 
legs, had vanished like the beetles. 
Thefe was no sign of Bram., The 
three were alone upon the face of the 
stream, which went swirling upward 
into renewed darkness. 

Tommy saw Dodd ben'd toward 
Haidia as she lay on her shell couch. 
He heard the sound of a noisy kiss. 
And he lay back in the hollow of his 
shell, with the feeling' that nothing 
that could happen injhe future could 
be worse than what they had passed 
through. 

DAYS went by, days when the 
sense of dawning freedom filled 
their hearts with hope. Haidia told ' 
-Dodd and Tommy that, according to , 
the legends Si her people, the -river 
ran into the world from which they 
had been driven by the floods, ages 
before. 

There had been no further signs of 
Brain or the beetle horde, and' Dodd 
and Tommy surmised that it -had been 
disorganized by the attach of the man- 
tiscs, and that Bram was engaged in 
regaining his control over it. But 
neither of them believed that, the 
respite would be a long one, and for 
that reason they rested ashore only for 
the briefest intervals,; just long enough 
to snatch a little sleep, and to eat* some 
of the shrimps that Haidia was adept 
at finding — or to pull some juicy fruit 
surreptitiously from a tree. 

Incidents there were, nevertheless, 
during those days. For hours, their 
shells were followed by a school of the 
luminous river monsters, which, never; 
theless, made no attempt* to attack 
them. And once, hearing a cry from 
Haidia, as she f as gathering shrimps, 
Dodd ran forward., to, see her battling 
furiously with a luminous scorpion. 



232 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



eight -feet ill length, that had sprung 
at her from its lurking place behind a 
pear shrub. 

DODD succeeded in stunning arid 
dispatching the monster without 
suffering any injury from it, but . the 
strain of the period was beginning to 
tell on all of them. Worst of all, they 
teemed to have left all the luminous 
vegetation behind- them, and were en- 
tering a region of almost total dark- 
ness, in which Haidia had to be their 
eyes. 

SOMETHING had happened to the 
! girl's sight in the journey over 
the petrol spring. As a matter of fact, 
the third, or ^nictitating membrane, 
which the humans of Submundia pos- 
sessed, in common with birds, had been 
burned away. Haidia could see as well 
as ever in the dark, but she could bear 
more light than formerly as well. Un- 
obtrusively she assumed command of 
the party. She anticipated their wants, 
dug shrimps. in the darkness, and fed 
Tommy and Dodd with her own hands. 

"God, what a girl I" breathed Dodd 
to his friend. "I've always had the 
reputation .of being 'a woman-hater. 
Tommy, but once I get that girl to 
civilization I'm going- to take her to 
the nearest Little Church Around the 
Corner in record time." 
, "I wish you luck, , old man, I'm 
sure," answered Tommy. D odd's words 
did not seem strange to him. Civiliza- 
tion was growing very remote to him. 
and' Broadway seemed like a memory 
of some previous in carnation. 

The river was gTowing narrower* 
again, and' swifter, too. On the laat»w 
day, or night, of their journey — though 
they did not know that it was to be 
their last — it swirled so fiercely that 
it threatened every moment to overset 
their beetle-shells. Suddenly Tommy 
began to feel giddy. He gripped the 
aide of his shell with his hand, i 

'"Tommy, we're going round!" 
shouted Dodd in front of him. 
There was no longer any doubt of 



it. The shells were revolving in a 
vortex of rushing, foaming water. 
."Haidia I" they shouted. ' 
The girl's voice came back thickly 
across the roaring torrent. The circles 
grew smairsr. Tommy knew that he 
was being sucked nearer and nearer, to 
the 'edge of some terrific whirlpool in 
that inky blackness. Now he could no 
longer hear Dodd's shoutSi and the 
shell was tipping so that be could feel 
the water rushing along the edge of 
it. But for the exercise of centrifugal 
. force he would have been flung from 
his perilous seat, for he was leaning 
inward at an angle of forty-five de- 
grees. 

THEN suddenly his progress was 
arrested. He felt the shell being 
drawn to the shore. He leaped out, 
and Haidia's strong hands dragged the 
shell out of the torrent, while Tommy 
sank down, gasping. 

"What's the matter?" he heard Dodd 
demanding. 

"There is no more river," said Haidia 
calmly. "It goes into a hole in the 
ground. So much I have heard from 
the wise men of my people. They say 
that it is near such a place, that they 
fled from the flood in years gone by." 

"Then we're near safety," shouted 
Tommy. "That river must emerge at 
a stream somewhere in the upper 
world, Dodd. I wonder where the road 
lies." ' , * ( 

"T^iere is a road hjere," came Haidip'i 
calm voice.. "Let \in put on our shells 
again, since who knows whether there 
may not be beetles here." 

Did you ever see such a girl a* 
that?" demanded Dodd ecstatically. 
"First she saves our lives, and then she 
thinks of everything. Good lord,- shell 
remember my meals, <nd to wind my 
watch for me, and — and — " 

But Haidia's voice, some distance 
ahead, interrupted iJodd't soliloquy, 
arid, hoisting the beetle-shells upon 
their backs, they started along the 
rough trail that they could feel with 
their feet over the stony ground. It 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



233 



mi still aB dark as pitch, but soon 
they found themselves traveling up a 
mnken way that was evidently a dry 
watercourse. And now and again 
Haidia's reassurinfferoice would come 
'{ram in front of them. 

THE road grew steeper. There 
could no longer be any doubt 
'that they were ascending toward the 
nirface of the earth. But even the 
■weight of the beetle-shell* and the 
.steepness could not account for the 
i feeling of intense weakness that took 
'possession of them. Time"'and again 
they stopped, panting. 
' "We must be very near the surface, 
iDodd," said Tommy. "We've surely 
fused the center of gravity. That's 
what makes it so difficult." 
i "Come on, Haidia said in her quiet, 
tolce, stretching out her hand through 
th{ darkness. And for very shame 
they had to follow her. 

On and on, hour after hour, up the 
steep ascent, resting only long enough 
to make them realize their utter 
fatigue. ' On because Haidia was lead- 
ing them, and because in the belief ' 
mat they were about to leave that 
twful land behind them their, desires 
lent new strength to their limbs con- 
tinuously. 

Suddenly Haidia uttered a fearful 
cry. Her ears had caught what became 
apparent to Dodd ariS Jimmy several 
Seconds later. ' 

Far down in the hollow of the earth, • 
Increased by 'the echoes that, came 
nanhling'up, they heard the distant, 
Itrident rasp of the beetle swarm, 
s Then it was D odd's turn to support 
Haidia and whisper consolation in her. 
♦sn. No thought of resting now. If 
*ey were to be overwhelmed at last 
by the monsters, they meant to -be 
overwhelmed in the upper air. 

IT was growing insufferably hot. 
Blasts of air, as if from a furnace, 
began to rush up and down past them. 
A>d the trail was growing steeper 
■plt> and slippery bb -glass. 



"What is it, Jim?" Tommy panted, 
as Dodd, leaving Haidia for a moment, 
came back to him. 

"I'd say lava," Dodd answered. "If 
only one could see something I I don't 
know how she finds her way. My im- 
pression is that we are coming ou,t 
through the interior of an extinct/ 
volfano." 

"But where are there volcanoes in 
the south polar regions?" inquired 
Tommy. 

* "There are Mount Erebus and Mount 
Terror, in South Victoria Land, ac- 
tive volcanoes discovered by Sir James 
Ross in 1841; and again by Borch- 
grevink, in 1899. If that's where 
we're coming out — well, Tommy, we're 
doomed, because it's the heart of the 
polar continent. We might as well 
turn back." 

"But we won't turn back," said 
Tommy. "I'm damned if we do." 

"We're damned if we don't," said 
Dodd. 

"Come along please I" sang Haidia's 
voice, high up the slope. 

They struggled on. And now a 
faint luminosity was beginning to 
penetrate that infernal darkness. The 
rasping of the beetle-legs, too, was no 
longer audible. Perhaps they had 
thrown Bram off their track I Per- 
haps in the' darkness he had not known 
which way they had gone after leaving 
the whirlpool I 4 

That thought encouraged them. to a 
''last effort. JThey pushed their flag- 
ging limbs up, upward through an lh- 
ferao of heated air. Suddenly Dodd 
" uttered a yell and pointed upward. 

"God I" ejaculated Tommy. Then he 
seized Dodd in his arms and nearly 
crushed him. For high above them, 
a pin-point in the black void, they saw 
— a start 

They were almost at the earth's 
surface I 

One more, effort, and suddenly the 
ground seemed to give beneath them. 
They breathed the outer air, and went 
sliding down a (.chute of sand, and 
7 stopped, half buried, at the bottom. 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



CHAPTER VIII 
Recaptured 

<*\ * 7 HERE are we?" each de- 

W-manded of the ether, at they 
staggered' out. 

It waB a moonless night, and the 
air was chill, but they were certainly 
nowhere near the polar regions, for 
theft' was no trace of snow to be seen 
anywhere. All about them was' sand, 
with here and there a spiny shrub 
standing up stiff and erect and solitary. 

When they had disengaged them- 
«elves from the clinging sand, they 
could see that they were apparently in. 
the, hollow of a vast crater, that must 
have been half a mile in circumference. 
It was low and worn down, to an eleva- 
,tion of not more than two or i three 
hundred feet, and evidently the vol- 
cano that had thrown it up had been ex- 
tinct for millennia. 

"Water I" gasped Dodd. 

They looked all about them. They 
could see no signs of a spring any- 
where, and both were parched with 
thirst after their terrific climb. 

"We must find water, Haidia,'' said 
Tommy. "Why, what's the matter?" 

Haidia was pointing upward at the 
starry heaven, and shivering with fear. 
"Eyes!" she cried. "Big beetles wait- 
ing for us up there!" 

"No, no, Haidia," Dodd explained. 
"Those are stars. They -are worlds — 
places where people live." 
•"Will you take me up there?"! asked 
Haidia. v 

"No, this is our world," said Dodd. 
4>And by and by the sun will rise, that's , 
a big ball of fire up there. He watches > 
over the world and gives us light) arid 
Warmth. Don't be afraid. I'll take 
care of you." 

"Haidia is not alraid with Jimmy- 
dodd to take care of her," replied the 
girl with dignity. "Haidia smells water 
— over there." She pointed across one 
side of the crater. 

"There we'd better hurry,"; said 
Tommy, ■'because I can't hold out much 
longer." 



THE three scrambled over the soft 
sand, which sucked in their lettM 
the ankle at every step. It was with 
the greatest difficulty that they soo 
ceeded in reaching the crater's summit, 
low though it was. Then Dodd uttered 
a cry, and pointed. In front of thea 
extended a long pool of water, with i 
scrubby grqwth around the edges. ' 
, The ground was firmer here, and 
they'' hurried toward it. Tommy wo 
the first to reach it: He lay down as 
his face and drank eagerly. He had 
taken in a quart before, he discovered 
that the water was saline. / 

At the same time Dodd ^uttered n 
exclamation of disgust. Haidia, too, 
after sipping a little of the fluid, had 
stood up, chattering excitedly in ha 
own language. 

But she, was not chattering about the 
water, She was pointing toward the 
scrub.- "Men there!" she cried. "Ma 
like you and Tommy, Jimmydodd." 

Tommy and Dodd looked at each 
other, the water already forgotten in 
their excitement at Haidia's informa- 
tion, which neither of Ahem doubted. 
Brave as she was, the girl now hang 
back behind Dodd, letting the two men 
take precedence of her. The water,* 
saline as it was, had partly quenched 
their thirst. They felt their strength 
reviving. . \ . 

And it was growing light. In the 
east the sky was already flecked with 
yellow pink. They felt a thrill of in- 
tense excitement at- the. prospect of 
meeting others of their kind. 

"Where do you think we are?" asked 
Tommy. 

DODD stopped to look at a shnh 
that was growing near the edge 
of the pool. "I don't think,' I know. 
Tommy," he answered. "This is wattle.' 
"Yes?" 

"We're somewhere in the inteaft 

regions of the Australian continent 
and that's not going to help us much.* 
"Over there — over there," panted 
Haidia. "Hold - me, Jimmydodd. I 
can't see. Ah, this terrible light P 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



235 



She screwed her eyelids tightly to- 
gether to shut out 'the pale light of 
fcwn. The men had already discovered 
Hut the third membrane had been 
turned away. 

"We must get her out of here, M -whis-' 
ptted Dodd to Tommy. "Somewhere 
where it's dark, before the sun rises. 
Let's go back to the entrance of the 
enter." 

But Haidia, her arm extended, per- 
litted, "Over there I Over there I" 

Suddenly a spear came whirling out 
of a growth of wattle beside the 'pool. 
It whizzed past Tommy's face and 
dropped into the sand behind. Be- 
tween the trunks of the wattles they 
could see (he forms of -a party df 
hltckfellowa, watching them intently. s 

Tommy held up ' his arms and moved 
forward with a show of confidence that 
he wis tar from feeling. After what he 
had escaped in the underworld he was 
(n no mood to be massacred now. 

BUT the blacks were evidently not 
hostile. It was probable' that the' 
■pear had not been aimed to kill. At 
the sight of the two white men, and the' 
white woman, they came forward 
doubtfully, then more fearlessly, shout- 
ing in their language. In another min- 
'ate Tommy and Dodd were the center 
of a group of wondering savages. 

Especially Haidia. Three or four 
gins, or black women, had crept out of 
the scrub, and were already examining 
her with guttural cries, and fingering 
the hair garment that she wore. 

"Water!" said Tommy, pointing to 
bis throat, and then to the pool, with a 
frown of disgust. 

The blackfellows grinned, and led 
the three a short distance to a place 
where a large hollow had been scooped 
fat the sandy floor of the desert. It 
wis full of water, ' perfectly sweet to 
the taste. The three drank gratefully. 

Suddenly the edge - of the sun ap- 
peared above the horizon, gilding the 
Bad with gold. The sunlight fell upon 
the three, and Haidia uttered a terrible 
07 of distress. She dropped upon the 



Band, her hands -pressed tjo her eyes con- 
vulsively. Tommy and Dodd dragged 
her into the thickest part of the scrub, 
where she lay moaning. > 

They contrived bandages from the 
remnants of their clothing, and these, 
damped with cold water, and bound 
over the girl's eyes, alleviated her suf- 
fering somewhat. Meanwhile the black- 
fellows had prepared a meal of roast, 
opossum. After their long ' diet of 
shrimps, it tasted like ambrosia to the 
two men. 

MUCH to their surprise, Haidia 
seemed to enjoy it too. The 
three squatted in the scrub among the 
friendly blacks, discussing their situ- 
ation. 

"These fellows will save us," said 
Dodd. . "It may be that we're quite 
near the coast, 'but, any way, they'll 
stick to us, even if only out of curios- 
ity." They'll take us somewhere. But 
as soon ai we get Haidia to safety well 
have to go back along our trail. We 
mustn't lose f>ur direction. Suppose 
I was to laughed at when I get back, 
called a liar I tell you, we've got to 
have something to show, to prove my 
statements, before I can persuade any- 
body to fit out an expedition into Sub- 
mundia. Even those three beetle-shells 
that we dropped in the crater won't be 
conclusive evidence for 'the' type of 
mind that sits in the chairs of science 
today. And, speaking of that, we must 
get those blacks to carry those shells 
for us. I tell I you, nobody will be- 
lieve—" v, 

"What's that?" cried-Tommy sharply, 
as a rasping Bound rose above the cries 
of the frightened blacks. 

But there, was no need to ask. Out 
of the crater two enormous beetles were 
'winging their way toward them, two 
beetles .larger than any that they had 
seen. 

Fully seven s feet in length, they were 
circling about each other, apparently 
engaged in a vicious battle. 
. The fearful beaks stabbed at the flesh 
beneath the shells, and they alternately 



236 ASTOUNDI* 

stabbed and. drew back, all the while 
approaching the party, which watched 
them, petrified with terror. 

It was evident that the monsters had 
no conception of the .presence of hu- 
mans. Blinded by the sun, only one. 
thing could have induced them to leave' 
the dark depths of Submundia. That 
was the mating instinct. The beetles 
were evidently rival leaders of some 
swarm, engaged in a duel to»the death. 

Round and round, they went in a 
dizzy maze, stabbing and thrusting, 
jaws closing on, flesh,\ until) they 
dropped, close-locked in battle, not 
more than twenty feet from thej little 
party .of .blacks and whites,! both 
squirming in the agonies of death. 

"T DON'T think that necessarily 
A means that the swarm is on our 
trail," said Tommy, a little later, as the 
three stood beside the shells that they 
>had discarded. "Those two were strays, 
lost from the swarm and maddened by 
the mating instinct. Still, it might be 
as well to wear these . things for a 
while, in case they do follow us." 

"You're right," answered Dodd, as 
he placed one of the shells around 
Haidia. "We've got to get this little' 
lady to civilization, and we've, got to 
protect our lives in order to give this 
great new knowledge to the world. If 
we are attacked, you must sacrifice 
your life for me, Tommy, so that I can 
carry back the news." 

"Righto I" answered Tommy; with 
alacrity.* "You bet I will, Jim." !' 

The glaring sun of mid-afttrnoon 
was shining down upon the desert, but 
Haidia was no longer in pain. It was 
evident that she was fast becoming ac- 
customed to the sunlight, though she 
still kept her eyes, screwed up tightly, 
and had to be helped along by Dodd 
and Jimmy. In high good humor the' 
three reached the encampment, to find 
that the blacks were feasting on the 
dead beetles, while the two eldest 
members of the party had proudly 
donned the shells- 
It was near sunset before they finally 



(G STORIES' 

ft 

started. Dodd and Tommy had dm*. 
aged to malce it clear to them that tfcsj 
wished, to reach civilization, but to* 
near this was there was, of course, at. 
means of determining. They noted, 
however, that the party started in ■ 
southerly direction. 

"L should say," said Dodd, "that m 
are in South' Australia, probably ,tbrw 
or four hundred miles from the ogtst, 
We've, got a long journey before at, 
but these blackfellows will know ho* 
to procure food for us." ^ 

THEY certainly knew how to get 
water, for, just as it began to gr*» 
dark, when the three wire already tor* 
mented by thirst, they stopped at what' 
.seemed a mere hollow among the stoats 
and boulders that strewed the face of 
the desert, and scooped away the tad; 
leaving a hole which quickly filled 
with* clear, cold water of excellent 
taste. 

After which they made signs that 
they were to camp there for the night 
The moon was riding, high in the 117. 
As it grew dark, Haidia opened her 
eyes, saw the luminary, and ^uttered ■ 
exclamation, this time not df fear, hot 
of wondeY. 

"Moon," said Dodd. "That's iD 
right, girl. She watches over the night, 
as the sun does over the day." 

"Haidia likes the moon better thai 
the sun," said the girl wistfully. "Bat 
the moon not strong enough to ktcf 
away the beetles." 

"If I was you, I'd forget about the 
beetles, Haidia," said Dodd. : "They 
won't come out of ■that hole in nV 
ground. You'll never see them again,', 

And, as he spoke, they heard a fa- 
miliar rasping sound far in the dis- 
tance. 

"How t)ie wind blows," said Tons*/, 
desperately resolved not to beliete hnv 
ears. "I think a storm's coming of- 

But Haidia, with a scream of fear, 
was clinging to Dodd, and the blacH 
were on their feet, spears and boa* 
erangs in their hands, looking north- 
wafd. 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



237 



Out of that north a little black cloud 
cat gathering. A cloud that spread 
gradually, as a thunder-cloud, until it 
covered a good part of the sky. And 
ttill more of'the sky, and still more. 
All the while that faint, distant rasp- 
iag was audible, but it did ""not in- 
crease in volume. It was as if the 
beetles had halted until the full number 
ot the swarm had come up out of the 
enter. 

THEN the cloud, 'which by now 
covered half the sky, began to 
take geometric form, ft 'grew square, 
the ragged edges seemed ( to trim them- 
telves away, streaks of " light shot 
through it at right angles, as if it was 
■■noaling itself into companies. 

The doomed men and the girl stood 
perfectly still, staring at that phe- - 
aomenon. They knew that only a 
miracle could save them. They did 
oot even speak, but Haidia clung, more 
tightly to Dodd's arm. 

Then suddenly the cloud spread up- 
ward and covered the face of the moon. 

"Well, this is good-by. Tommy," said 
Dodd, gripping his friend's hand. "Cod, 
I wish I had a revolver, or a knife I" 
He looked at Haidia. 

Suddenly the rasping became r.whin- 
iagl shriek. A score of enormous 
hectics, the advance guards of the 
■nay, zoomed out of the darkness into 
t ray of straggling moonlight. Shriek- 
ing, the blacks, who had watched the 
approaching swarm perfectly immobile,, 
threw away the two shells and bolted.- 
"Good Lord," Dodd shouted, "did 
you see the color of their shells, 
Tommy?" Even in that moment the 
■dentific observer came uppermost in 
hhn. "Those red edges? They must 
he voting ones. Tommy. It's the new 1 
hraodl No wonder Bram stayed be- 
sted t He was waiting for them to 
hatch ! The new brood I We're doomed 
—doomed! All my' work wasted I" 

The blackfellowa did not get very 
fa ■ A hundred yards from the place 
where they started to run they dropped, 
(heir bodies hidden beneath the clus- 



tering monsters, their screams cut 
short as those frightful beaks sought 
their throats, and those jaws crunched 
through flesh and bone. 

CIRCLING around Dodd, Tommy, 
and Haidiat as if puzzled by their 
appearance, the beetles kept up a con- 
tinuous, furious droning that sounded 
like the roar of Niagara mixed with the' 
shrieking of a thousand sirens. The 
moon was completely hidden, and only 
a dim, nebulous light showed the re- 
pulsive monsters as they flew within a 
few feet of the heads of the fugitives. 
The stench was overpowering. 

But suddenly a' ray .of white light 
shot through the darkness, and, with 
a changed note, just perceptible to the 
ears of the two men, but doubtless of 
the greatest significance to-the beetles, 
the swarm fled apart to right and left, 
leaving a clear lane, through which ap- 
peared — Bram, reclining on his shell- 
couch * above his eight trained beetle 
steeos I 

Hovering overhead, the eight huge 
monsters dropped lightly to the ground' 
beside the thref. Bram sat up, a vici- 
ous grin upon his twisted "fcase. In his 
hand he held a large electric bulb, its 
sides sheathed in a roughly carved 
wooden frame; the wire was attached 
to a battery behind him. 

"Well met, my friends I" he shouted 
exultantly. "I owe you more thanks 
than I can express for 'having 'so 
providentially left the electrical equip- 
ment of - your plane undamaged after 
you crashed at the entrance to Sub- 
mund^ia. I had a hunch about it — and 
the hunch worked I" 

HE grinaed more 'malevolently aa 
he looked from one man to the 
other. / 

"You've run your race," he said. "But 
I'm going to have a little fun with you 
before you die. I'm going to use' you 
as an object lesson. You'll find it out 
in a little while." 

"Go ahead, go ahead, Bram," Dodd 
grinned back at ljim. "Just a few mil- 



238 



ASTOUNDING STOSIES 



lion years ago, and you were a speck of 
protoplasm — in that pre-pleistocence 
age-i-swimming among the invertebrate 
crustaceans that characterized that 
epoch." 

"Invertebrates and monotremes, 
Dodd," said Bram, almost wistfully. 
"The' mammals w;ere already existent 
on the earth, as you know — " Sudden- 
ly he broke off, as he realized that 
Dodd was spoofing hjm. A yell of ex- 
ecration broke from his lips. He ut- 
tered a high whistle, and instantly the 
whiplike laBhes of a hundred beetles 
whizzed through the darkless and re- 
mained poised over Doddjs head. 

"Not even the marsupial lion, Bram," 
grinned Dodd, undismayed. "Co ahead, 
go ahead, but I'll not die, with a lie 
upon my lips I" 

CHAPTER IX 
The Trail of Death 

HERE'S -sure some sort of hpo- 
A. doo on these Antarctic expedi- 
tions, Wilson," said the city editor of 
The Daily Record to; the star rewrite 
man. He glanced through the hastily 
typed report that had come through on 
the wireless set erected on the thirty- 
sixth story of the Record Building. 
"Tommy Travers gone, eh ? And James 
Dodd, too I There'll be woe and wail- 
ing, along the Great White Way to- 
night when this news gets out, They 
say that half the chorus girls in town, 
considered themselves engaged to 
Tommy. jNice fellow, tool Always 
did like him I 

"Queer, that curtain of fog that 
seems to lie on the actual site of the 
south pole," he continued, glancing 
oveV the report again. "So Storm thinks 
that Tommy crashed in it, and that 
it's a million to one against their ever 
finding his remains. What's this about 
beetles? Shells of enormous prehis- 
toric beetles found by Tommy and 
Dodd! That'll make good copy,' Wil- 
son. Let's play that up. Hand it to 
Jones, and tell him -to scare up a catch- 
ing headline or two." 



H' 



E beckoned to the boy who vm 
hurrying toward his desk, a 
flimsy in his hand, glanced' throngs it, 
and tossed it toward Wilson. 

"What do they think this is, AanV 
Fool's Day?" he asked. "I'm-surprint 
that the International Press should fan 
for such stuff as that I" 

"Why, to-morrow is the first ol 
April I" exclaimed Wilson, toning 
back the cable dispatch with a con- 
temptuous laugh. 

"Well, it won't do the I.P. mock 
good to play those tricks on their sub- 
scribers," said the city editor tettih/. 
"I'm surprised, to Bay the least I 
guess their Adelaide corresponds*! 
has gone off his head or something. 
Using, poor Travers's name, tool Of 
course .that fellow didn't know he wm 
dead, but still. . . ." 

That was how The . Daily RettU 
missed being the first to give out at- 
tain information that 'was to stagger 
the world. The- dispatch, .which kai 
evidently outrun an .earlier one, was a 
follows: /' 

ADELAIDE, South Australia, 
March 31i — Further telegraphic 
communications '. arriving almost 
continuously from Settler's Sta- 
tion, signed by Thomas -Travcn, 
member of Travers Antarctic Ex- 
pedition, who claims to have pens- 
' trated earth's interior at soufk 
pole and to have come out near 
Victoria Desert. Travers states 
that swarm of prehistoric beetles, 
estimated at two trillion, and ■ 
large as men, with shells impene- 
trable by rifle bullets, now be- 
sieging Settler's Station, where be 
and Dodd and Haidia, woman of. 
subterranean race whom they ' 
brought away, arershut up in tele- 
graph office. Bram, former men 
ber of Greystoke Expedition, said 
to be in charge of swarm, with in-' 
tbntion of obliterating human race, 
Every living thing at Settler"*'. 
Station destroyed, and swarm me** r 
ing Bouth. 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



239 



It was a small-town paper a hundred 
gilef from New York that took a 
fiance on publishing this report from 
Ike International Press, in spite of 
{untie efforts on the parts of the head 
tfice to recall it after it had been 
Utumitted. This paper published the 
Kcount as an April Fool's Day joke, 
tough later it took to itself the credit 
for hiving believed it. But by the time 
April Fool's Day dawned all the world 
knew that the account was, if 'any- 
thing, an under-estimate of the fearful 
things that were happening "down un- 
der." 

IT was known now that the swarm 
of monsters had originated in the 
(treat VictoriafDeaert, one of the worst 
stretches of desolation in the world, 
■tasted in the south-east corner of 
Western . Australia. Their numbers 
were incalculable. Wimbush, the avi- 
ttsr, Who was attempting to cross the 
continent from east to west, reported 
■forward that he had flown for four 
bra, skirting the edge of the Bwann, 
sad that the whole of that time they 
were moving in the same direction, a 
thick cloud that left a trail of dense 
fatness on earth beneath them, like 
Ike path of an eclipse. Wimbush 
escaped them only because he had a 
<ttHnf of twenty thousand " feet, ' to 
which apparently the beetles could not 

And this swarm was only about one- 
fstnth of the whole number of the 
■ousters. This was the swarm that was 
Boring westward, and subsequently to- 
tally destroyed «U living things in 
Ktjgoorlie, Coolgardie, . Perth,' and all 
the coastal cities cif Western Australia. 

Ships were found drifting in the 
Indian Ocean, totally destitute of 
trews and passengers; not even their 
strietons were found, and it was esti- 
mated that the voracious monsters had 
tarried them away bodily, devoured 
fan in- the air, and 'dropped the re- 
asons into the water. 

AD the world knows now how the 
n elephant herd on Kerguelen Island 



was totally destroyed, and of the gilnt 
shells that were found lying every- 
where on the deserted beaches, in po- 
sitions that showed .the monsters had 
in the end devoured one another. 

Mauritius was the most westerly 
point reached by a fraction . of the 
swarm. A little over twenty thousand 
of the beetles reached that lovely 
island, by count of thejhells afterward, 
and all the world knows now of the 
desperate and successful fight that the 
inhabitants waged against them. Men 
and women, boys and girls, blacks and 
whites, finding that the devils we're in- 
vulnerable against rifle firec sallied 
forth boldly with knives and choppers, 
and laid down a life for a life. 

ON th« second day after their ap- 
pearance, the main swarm, a tril- 
lion and a half strong, reached the line 
of the transcontinental railway; and 
moved eastward into South Australia, 
traveling, it was estimated, at the. rate 
of two hundred miles an hour. By the 
next morning. thwy were in Adelaide, 
a city of nearly a quarter of a million 
people. By nightfall every living thing 
in Adelaide and the suburbs had been 
eaten, except for a few who succeeded 
in hiding in walled-up cellars, or in the 
surrounding marshes. 

That night the swarm was on the bor- 
ders of New South Wales and! Victoria, 
and moving in two divisions toward 
-Melbourne and Sydney. 

The -northern half, it was quickly 
seen, was flying "wild," with no partic- 
ular objective, 'moving in a solid co- 
hort two hundred miles in length, and 
devouring game, stock, and humans in- 
discriminately. It was the southern 
division, numbering perhaps a trillion, 
that was under command of Bram, and 
aimed at destroying Melbourne as Ade- 
laide had been destroyed. 

Bram, with his eight beetle steeds, 
was by this time known and execrated 
throughout the world. He was pictured 
as Anti-Christ, and the^ fulfilment of 
.the prophecies of the Rock of Revela- 
tions. 



240 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



And all this while — or, rather, until 
the telegraph wires were cut — broken, 
it was discovered la.ter, by perching 
beetles — Thomas 'Travers was sending 
out 1 messages from his post at Settler's 
Station. 

SOON it was known that prodigious 
creatures were -following in the 
wake of the devastating horde. Man- 
tissa, 6fteen feet in height, winged 
things like pterodactyls, longer than 
bombing airplanes,, followed, - preying 
on the stragglers. But the main bodies 
never halted, and the inroads that the 
destroyers made on their numbers were 
insignificant. 

Before the swarm- reached Adelaide 
the Commonwealth Government had 
taken action. Troops had been called 
out, and all the available airplanes in 
the country had been ordered to as- 
semble at Broken Hill, New South 
Wales, a strategic point commanding 
the approaches to Sydney and Mel- 
bourne. Something like four hundred 
airplanes were assembled, with several 
batteries of anti-aircraft guns that had 
been used ! in the Great War. Every 
amateur aviator in Australia was on 
the spot, with machines ranging from 
tiny Moths to Handley-Pages — any- 
thing that' could fly. 

Nocturnal though the beetles had 
been, they- no longer feared the light of 
the sun. In fact, it was ascertained 
later thaf they wero,l>lind. An opacity 
had formed over the 'crystalline lens of 
the eye. Blind, they were no less for- 
midable than with their sight. They 
existed only to devour, and their num- 
bers made them irresistible, .no matter 
which way they turned. 

As soon as the vanguard of the dark 
cloud was sighted from Broken Hill, 
the airplanes went aloft. Four hun- 
dred planes, each armed with machine 
gans, dashed into the serried hosts, 
drumming, out volleys of lead.- In a 
long line, extending nearly to the linv 
its of the beetle formation, thus giving 
each aviator all the room he needed, 
the planes gave battle. , 



THE first terror that fell upon tkj 
airmen was the discovery taa; 
even at close range, the """•hint gn 
bullets failed to- penetrate the •j^n t 
The force of the impact whirled tb 
beetles around, drove them togethetyj 
bunches, sent them groping with «e» 
ing tentacles through the air — bnttkat 
was all. On the main body of the is. 
vaders no impression was made what 
ever. 

The second terror was the realuMisi 
that the swarm, driven down here asj 
there frpm an altitude of several bay 
dred feet, merely resumed their prog- 
ress, on the ground, in a succession of 
gigantic leaps. Within a few minutes, 
instead of presenting an inflexible ba> 
rier, the line of airplanes was \mBj 
broken, each plane surrounded . bj 
swarms of the monsters. 

Then Bram was seen. And that *■ 
the third terror, the sight of the famm 
beetle steeds, four pairs abreast, viA 
Bram reclining like a Roman empent 
upon, the surface of the shells. It Is 
true, Bram had no inclination to rat 
his own life in battle. At the fit* 
sight of the, aviators he dodged into.tkt 
thick of the swarm, where no ballet 
could reach him. Bram managed a) 
transmit an order, and the beetles dm' 
together. 

Some thought afterward that it wm 
by thought ' transference he effects! ' 
this maneuver, for instantly theheetkt 
which had hitherto flown in loose oris, 
became a solid wall, a thousand feet ii 
height, closing in on the planes. Tit 
propellers struck them and snaps*! 
short, and as the planes went weariflf i 
down, <he hideous monsters leaped tefc 
the cockpits and began their ibo— 
nable'meal. 

NOT a single plane came back. 
Planes and skeletons, and hot 
and there a shell of a dead beetle, Hadf 
completely devoured, were all that wsi 
found afterward. 

The gunners stayed at their posts nil 
the last moment, firing round after 
roand of shell and shrapnel, with n> 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



241 



dgnificant results. Their skeletons 
ytre found not twenty paces from 
their guns — where the, Gunners' Monu- 
ment now stands. 

Half an hour after the flight had first 
been sighted the news was being ra- 
dioed to Sydney, Melbourne, and ahl 
other Australian cities, advising in- 
stant flight to sea as the only chance 
of safety. That radio message was cut, 
ihort— and men listened and shud- 
dered. After that came the crowding 
iboard all craft in the harbors, ths^ 
tragedies, of the Eystis, the All Aus- 
Utlia, the Seppboris, sunk at their 
moorings. The innumerable sea tra- 
gedies. The horde of fugitives that 
landed in New Zealand. The reign of 
terror when the mob got out of hand, 
the burning of Melbourne, the sack of 
Sydney. 

And south and eastward, like a re-, 
Bftless flood, the beetle swarm came 
pouring. Well had Bram toasted that 
he would make the earth a desert I ' 

A HUNDRED miles of poisoned 
carcasses of sheep, extended out- 
side Sydney's suburbs, gave the first 
promise of success. Long mounds of " 
beetle shells testified to the results; 
moreover, the beetles that fed on the 
carcasses of their fellows, were in turn 
poisoned and died. But this was only 
( drop in the bucket. What counted 
was that the swift advance was slowing 
down. As if exhausted by their efforts,, 
or else satiated with food, the beetles 
were doing what the soldiers did. 
They were digging in I 
Twenty-four miles from Sydney, 
eighteen outside Melbourne, the ad- 
vance was stayed. 

Volunteers who went out from those 
dues reported that the beetles seemed 
tobe resting in long trenches that they 
hid excavated,' so that only their shells 
appeared above ground. Trees were 
covered with clinging beetles, every, 
wall, every house was invisible beneath 
•he beetle armor. 

Australia had a respite. Perhaps 
•>ly for * night or day, but still time 



9 

to draw breath, time to consider, time 
for the shiploads of fugitives to get 
farther from the continent that had be- 
come a shambles. "' 

And then the cry went up, not only 
from Australia, 'but from all the world, 
"Get'TrayersI" 

CHAPTER X 
r At Bay 

BRAM put his fingers to his mouth 
and whistled, a shrill whistle, yet 
audible to Dodd, Tommy, and Haidia. 
Instantly three pairs of beetles ap- 
peared out of the throng. Their ten- 
tacles went out, and the twe men and 
the girl found themselves hoisted sepa- 
rately upon the bafks of. the pairs. Next 
moment they were flying side" by side, 
high in. the air, above the surrounding 
swarm. ' 

They could see one another, but it 
wa»,impossible for them to make their 
voices heard above the rasping of the 
beetles' legs. Hours went by, while the 
moon crossed die sky and dipped to- 
ward the horizon. Tommy knew that 
the moon would set about the hour of! 
dawn. And the stars were already be- 
ginning to pale when he saw a line of 
telegraph poles, then twb lines of shin- 
ing metals, then a small settlement of 
stone and brick houses. 

Tommy was not familiar with-the ge- 
ography of Australia* but he knew this 
, must be the transcontinental line. 

Whirling onward, the cloud of bee- 
tles suddenly swooped downward. For 
a moment Tommy could see the fright- 
ened occupants of the ' settlement 
crowding into the single street, then 
he shuddered with sick horror as he 
saw them obliterated by the swarm'. 

There was no struggle, no attempt at 
flight or resistance. One moment those 
forty-odd men were there — the. .next 
minute they existed no longer. There 
was nothing but a swarm of beetles, 
walking about like men with shells 
upon their backs. 

And now Tommy saw evidences of 
B ram's devilish control of the swarm. 



242. 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



For out of "the cloud dropped what 
seemed to be a phalanx of beetle 
guards, the military police of beetle- 
dom, and, lashing fiercely with their 
tentacles, they drove back all the 
swarm that sought to join their com- . 
panions in their ghoulish feast. There 
was just so much food and no more; 
the rest must seek theirs further. 

BUT even bee'tles, it may be pre- 
sumed, are not entirely under 
discipline at all times. The pair of 
beetles that bore Tommy, suddenly 
swboped apart, ten or a dozen feet from 
the ground, and dashed into the thick 
of the struggling, frenzied mass, fling- 
ing their rider to earth. 

Tommy struck the soft sand, sat up, 
half dazed, saw his shell lying a few 
feet away from him, and retrieved it 
just as a couple of the monsters came 
swooping down at him. 

He looked about him. Not far away 
ttp,od Dodd and Haidia, with their 
shells on their backs. They recognized 
Tommy and ran toward him. 

Not more than twenty yards away 
stood the railroad station, with several 
crates of goods on the platfdrm. Next 
to it was a substantial house of stone, 
with the front door open. 

Tommy pointed to it, and Dodd un- 
derstood and shouted something that 
was lost in the furious buzz of the bee- 
tles' wings as they devoured their prey. 
The three raced for the entrance, 
gained it unmolested, and closed the 
door. 

There was a key in the door, and it 
was light enough for them to see a* 
chain, which Dodd pulled into position. 
There was only one story, and there 
were three rooms, apparently, with the 
kitchen. Tommy rushed to the kitchen 
door, locked it, too, and, with almost 
superhuman -efforts, dragged the large 
iron stove against it. He rushed to the 
window, but it was a mere loophole, 
not large chough to admit a child. 
Nevertheless, he stood the heavy table 
on end so' that it covered* it. Then he 
ran back. 



DODD had already barricaded tht 
window of the lafger room, which 
was a bed-sitting room, with a' heavy 
wardrobe, and the wooden bedstead, 
jamming the two . pieces sidewiat 
against the wall, so that they could "not 
be forced- apart without being demol- 
ished. He was now busy in the smaller 
iogm, which seemed to be the station- 
master's office, dragging an iron safe 
across the floor. But the window was 
criss-crossed with iron bars, and it was 
evident that the safe, which mi 
locked, contained at times considerable 
money, for the window could hardly 
have been forced •save by a charge of 
nitro-glycerine or dynamite. However, 
it was against the door that Dodd 
placed the safe, and he stood back, 
panting. 

"Good," said Haidia. "That will hold 
them." 

The two men looked at her doubtful- 
ly. Did Haidia know what she was 
talking about? 

The sun had risen. A long shaft shot 
into the room. Outside the beetles were 
Btill buzzing as they turned over tfat 
vestiges of their prey. There were M 
yet no signs of attack. Suddenly Tom- 
my grasped Dodd's arm. 

"Look I" he shouted, pointing to a 
comer which had been in gloom a mo- 
ment before. 

There was a table there, and on It a 
telegraphic instrument. Telegraphy 
had been One of Tommy's hobbies a 
boyhood. In a moment he was busy It 
the table. 

Dot— dash — dot — dash I Then tud- 
denly outside a furious hum, and tin 
impact of beetle bodies against tbf 
front door. 

TOMMY got up, grinning. That 
was the. first, interrupted mtstap 
from Tommy that was received. 

Through the barred window the three 
could see the furious efforts of the be*-. 
- ties to force an entrance. ' But the very 
tensile, strength of the beetle-shells, 
which rendered them impervious to 
bullets, required a laminate construe- 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



243 



lion which rendered them powerless 
against brick or stone. 

Desperately, the swarm dashed itself 
Igainst the walls, until the ground out- 
tide was piled high with stunned bee- 
tles. Not the faintest impression was 
glide on the defenses. 

"Watch-them, Jim," said Tom. "I'll 
go see if the rear's "secure." 

That thought of his seemed to have 
been anticipated by the beetles, formal 
Tommy reached the kitchen the swarm 
ffttir dashing against door and window, 
always recoiling. - Tommy came back,, 
grinning all over his face. 

"You were right,' Haidia," .toe said 1 ! 
"We've held them all right, and the 
tables are turned on Bram. Also I. got 
i message through, I think," he added 
to Dodd. 

Dash— dot— dash — dot from the in- 
strument. Tommy ran to the table 
■gam. Dash — dot went back. For. five 
- minutes Tommy labored, while the bee- 
tles hammered how on one door, now 
on another, now oa, the windows. Then 
Tommy got up. 

"It was some station down the line," 
be said. "I've .told them, and they're 
tending a man up here to replace the 
telegraphist, also a couple of cops. 
They think I'm crazy. I told them 
again. That's the best I could do." 

"■pvODDI Traversl For the last 

JL/ time — let's talk I" 

The cloud of beetles seemed to have 
thinned, for the sun was shining into 
the room. Bram's voice was perfectly 
audible, though he. himself was in- 
visible; probably he thought it likely 
that the defenders had obtained fire- 
inns. 

"Nothing to say to you, Bram," called 
Dodd. "We've finished our discussion 
on the-monotremes." 

*I want -you fellows to stand in with 
meT* came Bram's plaintive tones. "It's 
H lonesome all by one's self, Dodd." 

"Ah, you're beginning to find that 
out, are you?'.' Dodd could not resist 
■swerlng. "You'll be lonelier yet be-' 
(we you're through." 



"Dodd, I didn't bring that swarm up 
here. I swear.it. I've been trying to 
control them from the beginning. I 
saw .what was coming. I believe I can 
avert this horror, drive them into the 
sea or something like that. Don't make 
me, desperate, Dodd. 

"And listen, old man. About those 
tnonotremes — sensible men don't quar- 
rel over things like that. Why can't 
we agree to differ?" 

"Ah, noW you're talking, Bram," 
Dodd^answered. "Only you're too late. 
After what's happened here to-day* 
we'll have no truck with you. That's [ 
final." 

"Damn you," shrieked 'Bram. "I'll 
batter down this house. I'll — " 

"You'll do nothing, Bram, because 
you can't," Dodd answered. . "Travers 
has wired full information about you* 
devil-horde, and likewise about you, 
and all Australia will be prepared to 
give you a warm reception when you 
arrive." 

"I. tell you I'm invincible," Bram 
screamed. "In ttiVee days Australia 
will be a ruin, a depopulated desert. 
In a week, all southern Asia, in three 
weeks Europe, in two months Amer- 
ica." 

"You've been taking too many of 
those . pellets, Bram,'*' Dodd answered. 
i 1 "Stand back now I Stand back, wher- 
ever you are, or I'll open the door and 
throw, the slops over you." 

BRAM'S screech rose high above 
the droning of the wings.. In an- 
other moment the interior of the room 
had grown as black as night. The rattle 
of the beetle shells against the four 
walls of the house was like the clatter- 
ing of stage thunder. 

AH through the darkness Dodd could 
hear the unhurried clicking of the key. 

At last the rattling ceased. The sun 
shone in again. The ground all around 
the house was packed with fallen bee- 
tles, six feet high, a writhing mass that 
creaked and clattered as it strove to dis- 
engage itself. 

* Bram's voice once mote : "I'm leav- 



244 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



ing a guard, Dodd. They'll get you if 
you try to leave. But they won't eat 
you. .I'm going to have you ) three 
sliced into little. pieces, the Thousand 
Deaths of the Chinese. The beetles 
will eat the parts that are sliced away 
— and you'll live to watch them. I'll be 
back with a stick or two of dynamite 
to-morrow." 

"Yeah, but listen, Bram," Dodd sang 
out. "Listen, you old marsupial tiger. 
When those pipe dreams clear away, 
I'm going to build a gallows of beetle- 
shells reaching to the moon, to hang 
you oal" 

B ram's screechy of madness died 
away. The strident rasping of the bee- 
tles' legs began again. For hours the 
three heard it ; it was not until night- 
fall that it died away. 

BRAl^ had made good his threat, 
''for all around the house, extend- 
ing as\far as they could see, was the 
host o\ beetle-guards. To venture out, 
even With their shells about them, was 
clearly a hazardous undertaking. There 
was neither food nor water in the place. 

"We'll just have to hold»out," said 
Dodd, breaking one of the long periods 
of silence. 

Tommy did not answer; he did not 
hear him, for he was busy at the key. 
Suddenly he leaped to His feet. 

*'God, Jimmy," he cried, "that devil's 
making good his threat I The,. swarm's 
in South Australia, destroying every 
living thing, wiping out whole towns 
and villages! And they — they believe 
me now I" , 

He sank into a chair. For the first 
time the strain of the awful past 
seemed to grip him. Haidia came to 
his side. * * \ 

"The beetles are finish," she said in 
her soft voice. 

"How d'you know, Haidia?" de- 
manded Dodd. 

"The beetles are finish," Haidia re- 
peated quietly, and that was all that 
Dodd could get out of her. But again 
the key began to click, and Tommy 
■taggered to the table. • Dot-dash-dash- 



dot. Presently he looked up once matt, 
"The swarm's half-way to Adelaide," 
he said. "They want to know if I can 
help them. Help them'" He bunt 
into hysterical laughter. 

Toward evening he came back after 
anp hour at the key. "Line must be' 
broken," he said. "I'm getting noth- 
ing." 

T NT the moonlight' they could see the 
JL huge compound eyes of the beetle 
guards glittering like enormous dia- 
monds outside. They had not been 
conscious of thirst during the day, but 
now, with the coming of the cool night 
their desire for water became para- 
mount. 

"Tommy, there must be water in the 
station," and Dodd. "I'm going to get 
a pitcher from the kitchen and risk it, 
Tommy% Take care of Haidia if—" he 
added. _•■ 

But £Iaidia laid her hand upon hit 
arm. "Do not go, Jimmydodd," the 
said. "We cart be thirsty to-night, and 
to-morrow the beetles will be finish." 

"How d'you know?" asked Dodd 
.again. But now he realized that 
Haidia had never learned the signifi- 
cance of an interrogation. She only re- 
peated her statement, and again the 
two men had to remain content. 

The long night passed. Outside the 
many facets 'of the beetle eyes. Inside 
the two men, desperate with anxiety, 
not for themselves, but for the fate of 
the world, snatching a few momenta* 
sleep from time to time, then looking 
up to see those glaring eyes from the 
silent watchers. * 

Then dawn came stealing over the 
desert, and the two shook themselves 
free from sleep. And now . the eyel 
were gone; 

But there was immense 'activity 
among the beetles. They were scur- 
ry ing 1 to and fro, and, as they watched, 
Dodd and Tommy began to see some 
significance in their movements. 

"Why, they're digging tTenchesP 
Tommy shouted. "That's horriMe, 
Jimmy I Are they intending to con» 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



245 



fact sapping operations against us 
like engineers, or what?" 

Dodd did not reply, and Tommy 
hardly expected any answer.. r ^As the 
two men, now joined by* Haidia, 
witched, they saw that the beetles 
were actually digging themselves '■into 
the sand. 

WITHIN the space Of an hour, 
by the time the first, shafts of 
sunlight began to stream into the 
room, there was to be seen only the 
missive, rounded shells of the mon- 
sters as they squatted in the sand. 

"Now you may fetch water," said 
Haidia, smiling at her lover. "No, you 
do -not need the shells," she added. 
The beetles are finish. It is as the wise 
men of iny people told me." 

Wondering, hesitating. Tommy and 
Dodd unlocked. the front door. They 
stood upon the threshold ready to bolt 
back again. But there was no stirring 
among the beetle hosts. 

Growing bolder, they advanced a few 
steps; then, shamed by Haidia's cour- 
age, they followed her, still cautiously 
to .the station. 

Dodd shouted as he saw a water- 
tank, and a receptacle above it with a 
water-cock. , They let Haidia drink, 
then followed suit, afed for a few mo- 
. aenta, as they appeased their thirst, 
the beetles were forgotten. 

Then they turned back. There had 
been no movement in that line of shells 
that glinted in the morning sunlight. 

"Come, I shall show you," said 
Haidia' confidently, advancing toward 
tie trench. 

Dodd would have stoppedf her, but 
the girl moved forward quickly, eluded 
kirn with a graceful, mirthful gesture, 
tad stooped down over the trench. 

She rose up, raising in her arms an 
empty beetle-shell I. 

Dodd, who had reached the trench 
before Tommy, turned round and 
Filled to him excitedly. Tommy ran 
forward — and then he understood. 

The shells were empty. The swarm, 
whose life cycle Bram had admitted he 



did not understand, had just moulted I 

It had moulted because the bodies, 
gorged with food, bad grown too large 
for the shells. In time, if left alone, 
the monsters would grow larger shells, 
become invincible again. But just now 
they were' defenseless as new-born • 
babe,s — and knew it. 

Deep underneath, the empty shells 
they had (burrowed into the ground. 
Everywhere at the bottom of the deep 
trenches were the naked, bestial crea- 
tures, waving helpless tentacles and 
squirming over one another as they 
strove to find shelter and security. 

A sudden madness came over Tom- 
my and Dodd. "Dynamite — there must 
be dynamite 1" Dodd shouted, as he ran 
back to the station. 

"Something better than dynamite," 
shouted Tommy, holding up one of a 
score of drums of petrol I 

CHAPTER XI 
The World Set Free 

THEY waited two days at Settler's 
Station.* To push along the line 
into the desert would have been use- 
less, and both men were convinced that, 
an airplane would arrive for them. But 
it was not until the second afternoon 
that the aviator arrived, half-dead with 
thirst and fatigue, and almost incoher- 
ent. 

His was the last plane on the Aus- 
tralian continent. He brought the news 
of the destruction of Adelaide, and of 
the siege of Melbourne and Sydney, 
as he termed it. He told Dodd and 
T6mmy that the two cities had been 
surrounded with trenches arid* barbed 
wire. Machine guns and artillery were 
bombarding the trenches in which the 
beetles had taken shelter: 

"Has any one been out on reconnais- 
sance?" asked Tommy. 

Nobody had been permitted to pass 
through the barbed wire, though there 
had been volunteers. It meant certain 
death. But, unless the beetles' were 
sapling deep {n the ground; what theii 
purpose was, nobody knew. 



246 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



TOMMY and Dodd ied him to the 
'piles of smoking, stinking debris 
and told him. 

That was where the aviator fainted 
from sheer relief. 

"The Commonwealth wants you to 
take supreme command against the 
beetles," he told Tommy, when he had 
recovered. "I'm to bring you back. 
Not that they expect me back. But 
— God, what a piece of news ! Forgive 
my swearing — I used to be a parson. 
Still am, for the matter of that." / 

"How are you going to bring us 
three back in your plane?" asked 
Tommy. 

"I shall stay here with Jimmydodd," 
said Haidia suavely. "There is not the 
least danger any more. You must de- 
stroy the beetles before their shells 
have grown again, that's all." 

"Used to be a parson, you say? Still 
are?" shouted Dodd excitedly. "Thank 
God I I mean,- I'm glad to hear it. 
Come inside, and come quick.' I want 
you too, Tommy I" 

Then Tommy understood. And it 
seemed as <if Haidia understood, by 
some instinct that- belongs exclusively 
to women, for her cheeks were flushed 
as she turned and smiled into Dodd's 
eyes. 

Ten minutes later Tommy hopped 
into the biplane, leaving the happy 
married couple at Settler's Station. 
His eyes grew misty^as the plane»took 
the air, and he saw them waving to 
him from the ground. Dodd and 
Haidia and he had been through so 
many adventures, and had reached 
safety. He must not fail. 
J 

HE did not fail. He found himself 
at Sydney in command of thirty 
thousand men, all enthusiastic for the 
fight for the human race, soldiers and 
volunteers ready to fight until they 
dropped. . When the news of the situa- 
tion was made public, an, immense 
wave of hope ran through the world. 

National differences were forgotten, 
color and creed and race grew more 
tolerant of one another. A new day 



had dawned — the day of humanity*! 
true liberation. 

Tommy's first act was to call out the 
fire companies, and have the beetles' 
trenches saturated with petrol from 
the fire hoses. Then incendiary Bullets, 
shot from guns from a. safe distanosj 
quickly converted them into bksksg 
infernos. 

But even so only, a tithe of the beetle 
army had been destroyed. Two hun- 
dred planes had already been rushed 
from New Zealand, and their aviators 
went up and scoured, the country far 
and wide. Everywhere they found 
trenches, and, where the soil was 
stony, millions of the beetles clustered 
helplessly beneath great mounds of 
discarded shells. 

An army pf black trackers had been 
brought in planes from all parts of the 
country, and they searched out the 
beetle masses everywhere along the 
course that the invaders, had taken. 
Then incendiary bombs were dropped 
from above. 

DAY after day. the beetle massacre 
went on. By the end of a week 
the survivors of the invasion began to 
take heart again. It was certain thif 
the greater portion of the horde hid 
been destroyed. 

There was only one thing lacking. 
No trace of Bram -had been seen linct 
his appearance at. the head of his 
beetle army in front of Broken HilL 
And louder and more insistent grew 
the world clamor that he should be 
found, and put to death in some way 
more horrible than any yet devised. 

The ingenuity of a ^million minds 
worked upon this problem. News- 
papers all over the world offered prizes 
for the most suitable form of death. 
Ingenious Oriental tortures were re- 
discovered. 
The only thing lacking was Bram. 
A spy craze rati 'through Australia. 
FiVe hundrcjd Brams were found, and 
all of them were in imminent danger 
of death before they were able to prow 
an alias. 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



247 



And, oddly enough, it was Tommy 
and Dod<f who found Bram. For Dodd 
had been brought back east, together 
with his bride, and given an important 
command in the Army of Extermina- 
tion. 

DODD had joined 1 Tommy not far 
from Broken Hill, where a swarm 
of a hundred thousand beetles had 
been found in a little known valley. 
The monsters h^d begun to grow new 
■hells, and the news- had excited a 
fresh wave of ' apprehension. The air- 
planes had concentrated for an attack 
upon them, and Tommy and Dodd were 
riding together, Tommy at the con- 
trols, and Dodd observing. 

Dodd called through the tube to 
Tommy, and indicated a mass that was 
moving through the scrub — some fifty 
thousand beetles, executing short hops 
tod evidently regaining some vitality. 
Tommy nodded. 

He signalled, and the fleet of planes 
circled around and began to drop their 
incendiary bombs. Within a few min- 
otct the beetles were ringed with a 
wall of fire. Presently the whole ter- 
rain was a blazing furnace. 

Hours later, when the fires hadSiied 
iway, Tommy and Dodd went down to 
look at the destruction that had been 
wrought. The scene was horrible. 
Great masses of charred flesh and shell 
jrere piled up everywhere. 

"I guess that's been a pretty thor- 
ough job," said Tommy. "Let's get 
back, Jim." 



'-'What's that?" cried Dodd, pointing. 
Then, "My God, Tommy, it's one of 
our men I" 

IT was a man, but it was not one of 
their men, that creeping, maimed, 
half-cinder and half-human thing that 
was trying to crawl into the hollow of 
a reck. It was Bram, and recognition 
was mutual. 

Bram dropping, moaning; he was 
only the shell of a man, and it was in- 
credible how he had managed to sur- 
vive that ordeal of fire. The remainder 
of his life, which only his indomitable 
will had held in. that shattered body, 
was evidently a matter o'f minutes, but 
he looked up at Dodd and laughed. * 

"So — you're^— here, damn you I" he 
snarled. "And — you think — you've 
won. I've — another card — another in- 
vasion of the world — beside which this 
^is child's play. It's an invasion — " 

Bram was going, but he pulled him- 
self together with a supreme effort. 

"Invasiotf by — new species of — mon- 
otremes," he croaked. "Deep down in 
— earth. Was saving to — prove you the 
liar you are. Monotremes— egg-laying 
platypus big. as an elephant — existent 
long before pleistocene epoch — make 
you recant, you lying fool I" 

Bram died, an outburst . of bitter 
laughter on his lips. Dodd stood silent 
for a while; then reverently he re- 
moved his hat. 

"He was a madman and a devil, but 
he had, the potentialities *of a god, 
Tommy," he said. 



SUCH WELL-KNOWN WI&TERS AS 

Murray Leinster, Ray p Cutnmings, 
Victor Rousseau, R. F. Starzl, A. T. Locke, 
Capt. S. P. Meek and Arthur J. Burks , 
Write for 

ASTOUNDING S TOR I E S 





im mm immtr room tktj fommj 
4< diabolical mot hi**. 



Mad Music 

By Anthony Pelcher 



TO the accompaniment of a 
crashing roar, not unlike rumb- 
ling thunder, the proud Colos- 
sus Building, which a few min- 
utes before had reared its sixty stories 
of artistic archi- 
tecture towards 
the blue dome of 
'the sky, crashed 
in a rugged, dusty 
heap of stone, 



The sixty •torus' of die perfectly con- 
structed 'Colossus building had mysteri- 
ously crashed I What was the connection 
b o t woo u this catastrophe and the weird 
strains of the Mad Musician's violin? 



brick, cement and mortar. The steel 
framework, like the skeleton of some 
prehistoric monster, still reared to 
dizzy heights but in a bent and twitted 
shape of grotesque outline. 

No one knew 
how many lire* 
were snuffed out 
in the avalanche. 

As the collapse 
occurred in the 



246 



MAD MUSIC 



249 



early dawn it was s not believed , the 
ieath tilt .would be large. It was ad- 
mitted, however, that autos, cabs and 
mrface cars may have beeni caught un- 
der the falling rock. One train was 
known to have been wrecked in the 
subway due to a cave-in from the sur- 
face under the ragged mountain of 
debria,. ' * _ 

The litter fairly fillfH a part of 
Times Square, the most congested 
crow-roads on God's footstool. Strag- 
gling brick and rock had rolled across 
the street to the west and had crashed 
into windows and doors of innocent 
■nail tradesmen's shops. 

A few minutes after the crash a. mad 
crowd of people had piled from subway 
aits as far away as Perm Station and 
Columbus Circle and from cross streets. 
These milled about, gesticulating and 
■hearing hysterically. All neighboring 
police stations were hard put to handle 
the growing mob. 

Hundreds of dead and maimed were 
being carried to' the surface from the 
wrecked train in the subway. Trucks 
■nd cabs joined the ambulance crews 
in the work of transporting these to 
morgues and hospitals. As the morn- 
ing grew older and the news of the 
disaster spread, more milling thousands 
tried to, crowd into the square. Many 
were craning necks hopelessly on the 
outskirts of the throng, blocks away, 
trying vainly to get a view of what 
liy beyond. 

The fire department and finally sever- 
al companies of militia, joined the po- 
lice in handling the crowd. Newsies, 
never asleep, yowled their "Wuxtras" 
and made much small money. 

The newspapers devoted solid pages, 
' m attempting to describe what had hap-' 
pened. Nervously, efficient reporters 
hid written and written, using all their 
he* adjectives and inventing new ones 
■n attempts to picture the crash and the 
hysterics which followed. 

WHEN the excitement was at its 
height a middle-aged man, 
Needing at the head, clothes torn and 



dusty, staggered into the West 47th 
street police-station. He found a lone 
sergeant at the desk. 
, The police sergeant jumped to his 
feet as the bedraggled man entered and 
stumbled to a bench. 
1 "I'm Pat Brennan, street floor watch-, 
man of the Colossus," he said. "I ran 
for it. 'I got caught in the edge of the 
wreck and a brick clipped me. I musts, 
been out for some time. When I came 
around I looked back just once at the 
wreck and then I beat it over here. 
Phone my boss." 

"I'll let you phone your boss," said 
the sergeant, "but first tell me just what 
happened." 

"Earthquake, I guess. I saw the floor 
heaving in waves. Glass was crashing 
and falling into the street. AH win- 
dows in the arcade buckled, either in 
or out. I ran into the street and looked 
. up. God, what a sight I The building 
from sidewalk to towers -was rocking 
and waving and.twisting and buckling 
'and I saw it was bound to crumple, so 
I lit out ant ran. I heard a roar like 
all Hell broke loose and then something 
nicked me and my light went out." 

"How many got caught in the build- 
ing?" 

"Nobody got out but me, I guess. 
There weren't many tenants. The 
building is all rented, but ,net every- 
body had moved in yet and those as had 
didn't spend their nights there. There 
was a watchman for every five stories. 
An engineer and his crew. Three ele- 
vator operators had come in. There 
was no names of tenants in or out on 
my book after 4 A. M. The crash musta 
come about 6. That's all;" 

THROUGHOUT the country the 
news of the crash was received 
with great .interest and wonderment, 
but in one small circle it caused abso- 
lute consternation. That was in the 
offices of the Mailer Construction Com- 
pany, the builders of the Colossus. - 
Jason V. Linane, chief engineer of the 
company, was in conference with its 
president, James J. Muller. 



250 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Muller sat with his head in his hands, 
and his face wore an expression of a 
man in absolute anguish. Linane was 
pacing the floor, a wild expression in 
his eyes, and at times he muttered and 
mumbled under his breath. 

In the other offices the entire force 
from manager to office boys was hushed 
and awed, for they had seen the ex- 
pressions on the faces of the heads of 
the concern when they stalked into the 
inner office that morning. 

Muller finally looked up, rather hope- 
lessly, at" Linane. \ 

"Unless we can prove /hat the crash 
was due to some circumstance over 
which we had no control, we are 
ruined," he said, and there actually 
were tears in his eyes. 

"No doubt about that," agreed Lin- 
ane, "but I can swear that the Colossus 
went up according to specifications and 
that every ounce and splinter of mate- 
rial was of the best. The workmanship 
was faultless. We have built scores of 
the biggest blocks in the world and of 
them all this Colossus was the most 
perfect. I had prided myself on it.' 
Muller, it was perfection. I simply 
cannot account tor it. I cannot. It 
should Wvestfbod up for thousands 
of years. "TTne foundation was solid 
rock. It positively was not an earth- 
quake. No other' building in the sec- 
tion was even jarred. No other earth- 
quake was ever localized to one half 
block of -the earth's crust, and we can 
positively eliminate an earthquake or 
an explosion as the possible, cause. I 
am sure we are not to blame, but we 
will have to find the exact' cause." 
. "If there was some flaw?" questioned 
Muller, although he knew the answer. 

"If there was some Haw, then we're 
sunk. The newspapers are already . 
clamoring • for probes, of us, of the 
building, of the owners and everybody 
and everything. We have got to have 
something damned plausible when we 
go to bat on this proposition or every 
dollar we have in the world will have 
to be paid out." 

"That is not all," said Muller: "not 



only wfll we be penniless, but we mtj 
have to go to jail and we will nercr 
be able to show our faces in reputiMi 
business circles again. Who was thr 
last to go over that building?" 

"I sent Teddy Jenks. He is. a coV 
and is swell headed and too big for Mi 
pants,, but I would bank my life on 
his judgment. He has the judgment el 
a much, older man and I would aho 
bank my life and reputation on his e> 
girreerin^ skill > and knowledge. He 
pronounced the building positively 
O. K. — 100 per cent." 

"Where is Jenks?" 

"He will be here as soon as hi* car 
can drive down from! Tarrytown. Be 
should be here now," 

A**? they talked Jenks, the younfeeat 
A member of the engineering force, 
entered. He entered like a whirlwind. 
He threw his bat on the floor and drew 
out a drawer of a cabinet. He polled 
out the plans for the Colossus, Uf 
blue prints, some of them yards in a- 
tent, and threw them on the floor. The* 
he dropped to his knees and began par- 
ing over them. 

"This is a hell of a time for job to 
begin getting around," exploded Mid- 
ler. "What were you doing, cabaret- 
ing all night?" 

"It sure is terrible — awful," taU' 
Jenks, half to himself. 

"Answer me," thundered Muller. 

"Oh yes," said Jenks, looking op. 
He saw the look of anguish on hk 
boss's face and fqrgot his own excite', 
ment in sympathy. He jumped to fata 
feet, placed his arm about the shoulden 
of the older man and led him to a chair. 
Linane only scowled at the young mo. 

"I was delayed because I stopped by 
to see the wreck. My God, Mr. Muller, 
it is awful." Jenks drew his had 
across his eye as if to erase the teat 
of the wrecked building. Then pitttaf 
the older man affectionately on the 
back he said: , 

"Buck up. I'm on the job, as ufOst 
< I'll find out about it. It .could not haw 
been our fault. Why man, that buff* 



MAD MUSIC 



251 



log -was as strong as Gibraltar itself I" 
'You were the last' to inspect it," 
accused Muller, with a break in his 
Mice. 

"Nobody knows that better than I, 
nd I can swear by all that's square 
tad honest that it was no fault v o£ the , 
material or the construction. It must 
tare been—" v 

"Must have been what?" 

Til be damned if I know." 

"That's like him,"' said Linane, who, 
while really kindly intentioned, had al- 
ways rather enjoyed prodding the 
young engineer. 

"Like me, lijtf the devil," shouted 
Jenks, glaring at Linane. "I suppose 
yoo know all about it, you're so blamed 
wisfcT 

"No, I don't know," admitted Linane. 
"Bat I do know that you don't like me 
to tell you anything. Nevertheless, I 
an going to tell you' that you had bet- 
ter get busy and find out what caused 
it, or—" 

"That's just what I'm doing," said 
Jsakt, and he dived for his plans on 
the floor. 

Newspaper reporters, many of them, 
wtre fighting outside to get in. Muller 
looked at Linane when a stenographer 
hsdVnnounced the reporters for the 
tenthSimo 

"We had better let them in," he said, 
"it looks bad to crawl for cover." 

"What are you going to tell' them?" 
tsked Linane. 

"God only knowa," said Muller. 

"Let me handje them," said Jenks, 
looking up confidently. 

THE newspapermen had rushed the 
office. They came in like a wild 
wave. Questions flew like feathers at 
» cock-fight. 

Muller held up his hand and there 
wis something in his grief-stricken 
y* that held the gentlemen of the 
Vttm is silence. They had time to 

!u* Si Uld ' They saw the nandsome, 
"*-hS»ed, brown-eyed Jenks poring 
W At plans. Dust from the carpet 
■■noged his knees, and he had rubbed 



some of it over a sweating forehead, 
but he still looked the picture of self- 
confident efficiency. 

"Gentlemen," said Muller slowly, "I 
can answer ajl your questions at once. 
Our firm is one of the oldest and 
staunchest in the trade. Our buildings 
stand as monuments to our integrity — " 

"All but one," said a young Irishman. 
- "You are right. . All but one," con- 
fessed Muller. "But that one, believe 
me, has been visited by an act of God. 
Some form of earthquake or some un- 
booked for, uncontrolled, almost unbe- 
lievable catastrophe has happened. 
Jhe Muller company stands . back of 
its work to its last dollar. Gentlemen, 
you know as much as we do. Mrf Jenks 
there, whose reputation as an engineer 
is quite sturdy, I assure you, was the 
last to inspect the building. He passed 
upon it when it was finished. He is at 
your service." 1 
, Jenks arose, brushed some dust from 
his knees. 

"You look like you'd been praying," 
bandied the Irishman. 

"Maybe % have. Now. let me' talk. 
Don't broadside me with questions. I 
know what -you want to know. Let me 
talk." 

'The newspapermen were silent. 

"There has been talk of probing this 
disaster, naturally," began Jenks. "You 
all know, gentlemen, that we will aid 
any inquiry to our utmost. You want 
to know what we have to say about it— 
who is responsible. In a reasonable 
time I will have a statement to make 
that! will be ^startling in the extreme: 
I am not sure*of my ground now." 

"How about the ground under the 
Colossus?" said the Irishman. 

"Don't let's kid each other," pleaded 
Jenks. "Look at Mr. Muller: it is as 
if he had lost his whole family. We 
axe good people. I am doing all I can. 
"Mr. Linane", who had charge of the con- 
struction, is doing all he can. We be- 
' lieve we are blameless. If it is proven 
otherwise we will acknowledge our 
fault, assume financial responsibility, 
atfS take our medicine. ' Believe me. 



252 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



that building was perfection plus, like 
all our buildings. .TJiat covers the en- 
tire situation." 

Hundreds of questions were parried 
and answered by the three engineers, 
and the reporters left convinced that 
if the Muller Construction' Company 
was responsible, it was .not through 
any fault of its own. 

THE fact that Jenks and Linane 
were not strong for each other, 
except to recognize each other's ability 
as engineers, was*' due to an incident 
of the past. This incident had caused 
a ripple of mirth in engineering circles 
/when it happened, and the laugh was 
on the older man, Linane. 

It was when radio was new. Linane, 
a structural engineer, had paid little 
attention to radio. Jenks* was the kind 
of an engineer who dabbled in all sci- 
ences. He knew his radio. 

When Jenks first came to work with 
a technical sheepskin and^ a few tons 
of brass, Linane accorded him only 
passing notice. Jenks craved the plau- 
dits of the older man and his palship. 
Linane treated, him as a son, but did 
not warm to his social' advances. 
"I'm as good an engineer as he is," 

- mused Jenks, "and if he is going to 
high-hat me, I'll just put a swift one 
over on him' and compel his notice." 

The next day Jenks approached 
Linane in conference and said: 

"I've got a curious bet on, Mr. 
Linane. I am betting sound can travel 
i mile quicker than it travels a quarter 

- of a mile." 

"What?" said Linane. 

"I'm betting; fifty that sound can 
travel a mile quicker than it can travel 
a quarter of a mile." 

"Oh no— it can't," insisted Linane. 

"Oh yes— it can 1" decided Jenks. 

"I'llf take some of that fool mot)ey 
myself," said Linane. 

"How much?" asked Jenks. 

"As much as you want." 

"AU right— five hundred dollars." 

"How you going to prove your con- 
tention?" 



"By stop watches, and your men can 
hold the watches. We'll bet that t 
pistol shot can be heard two miles away 
quicker than it can be heard a quarts 
of a mile away." 

"Sound travels about a fifth of a milt 
a second. The rate varies slightly ac- 
cording to temperature," explained 
Linane. "At the freezing point the 
rate is 1,090 feet per second and in- 
creases a little over one foot 'for ever/ 
degree Fahrenheit." 

"Hot or cold," *reezed Jenks, '^1 m 
betting you five hundred dollars tint 
sound can travel two miles quicker thai 
a quarter-mile." 

' "You're on, you ' damned idiot T 
shouted the completely exasperated 
Linane. 

JENKS let Linane's friends hold tat 
watches*' and his friend held the 
money. Jenks was to fire the shot 

Jenks fired the shot in front of ■ 
microphone on a football field. One ef 
Linane's friends picked the sound ns 
Instantaneously on a three-tube radio 
set two miles away. The other watch 
holder was standing in the open a quar- 
ter of a mile away and his watts 
showed a second and a fraction. 

All hands agreed that Jenks had wen 
the bet fairly. Linane never exactly 
liked Jenks after that. 

Then Jenks rather aggravated nat- 
ters by .a habit. Whenever Linane 
would make a very positive statement 
Jenks would look owl-eyed and eey: 
"Mr. Linane, I'll have to sound you eat 
about that." The heavy accent on the 
word "sound" nestled Linane mbb> 
what. 

Linane never completely, forgne 
Jenks for putting over this "fast one' 
Socially they were always more or lea 
at loggerheads. tut neither let this feel- 
ing interfere with their work. They 
worked together faithfully enough nil 
each recognized .the ability of the 
other. 4 

And so it was that Linane and Jenta, 
their heads together, worked all nifht 
in an attempt to find some cause thai 



MAD MUSIC 



253 



would tie responsibility for the 'dis- 
aster on mother nature. \ 

They failed to find it and, sleepy- 
eyed, they were forced to admit failure, 
n far. .. 

The newspapers, to whom Muller had 
aid that he would not shirk any re- 
iponsibility, began a hue and cry for 
the arrest of all parties in any waV con- 
cerned with the direction of the build- 
ing of the Colossus. 

When the death list from the crash 
tod subway wreck reached 97, the 
press waxed nasty and demanded the 
arrest of Muller, Linane and Jenks in 
no uncertain tones. 

Half dead from lack of sleep, .the 
three men were taken by the police to 
the district attorney's offices and, after 
I strenuous grilling, were formally 
placed under arrest on charges of crim- 
inal negligence.' They put up a $50,000 
bond in each case and were permitted 
to go and seek-further to find the cause 
of what the newspapers now began call- 
ing the "Colossal failure." 

Several days were spent by Linane 
and Jenks in examining the wreckage 
which was. being removed from Times 
Square, truckload after truckload, to a 
point outside the city. .Here it. was 
■gain sorted and examined and failed 
for future disposal. / 

So far as could be found every brick, 
•tone and ounce of material used in the 
building was perfect. Attorneys, how- 
wet, assured Linane, Jenks and Muller 
that 1 they would have to find the real 
cause of the disaster if they were to 
escape possible long prison sentences. 

Night after night Jenks courted 
sleep, but it would not come. He be- 
.'(an to grow wan and haggard. 

JENKS took to walking the streets 
N at night, mile after mire, thinking, 
always thinking, and searching his 
nund for a solution of the mystery. 

It was evening. He had walked past 
the scene of the Colossus crash several 
times. He found himself on a side 
•treet. He looked up and saw in elec- 
tric lights: 



TOWN HALL 
Munsterbergen, the Mad Musician 
Concert Here To-night. 

He took five dollars fromihis pocket 
and bought a ticket. He entered with 
'the crowd and was ushered to a seat. 
He locjked neither to the right or left. 
His eyes were sunken, his face lined 
with worry. 

Something within Jenks caused him 
to turn slightly. He was curiously 
aware qf a beautiful girl who sat beside 
him. She had a mass of golden hair 
which seemed to defy control. It was 
wild, positively tempestuous. Her eyes 
were deep blue and her skin as white 
as fleecy clouds in spring. He was 
"dimly conscious that those glorious 
eyes were troubled. 

She glanced at him. She was aware 
that he was suffering. A great surge 
of .sympathy welled in her heart. She 
could not explain the feeling. 

A great red plush curtain parted in 
^the center and drew in graceful folds 
to the edges of the proscenium. A 
small" stage was revealed. ' 

A tbusle-headed man with glaring, 
beady blackfeyps, dressed in black even- 
ing clothes stepped forward and bowed. 
Under his arm was a violin. He brought 
the violin forward. His nose, like the 
beak of some great bird, bobbed up and 
down in acknowledgment of the plau- 
dits which greeted him. His long ner- 
vous fingers began to caress the instru- 
ment and his }ips began to move. 

Jenks was aware that he was. saying 
something, but was not at air- inter- 
ested. What he said was this: 

"Maybe, yes, I couldn't talk so good 
English, but you could understood it, 
yes?' Und now I tell you dot J never 
play the compositions of any man. • I 
axtemporize exgloosively. I chust 
blay und blay, und maybe you should 
listen, yes? If I bleeze you I am chust 
happy." 

Jenks' attention was drawn to him. 
He ndted his wild appearance. 

"He sure looks mad enough," mused 
Jenks. j, 



254 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



np'HE violinist Hipped the fiddle up 
X 'under his chin. He drew the bow 
over the strings and began a gentle 
melody that reminded one of rain 
drops falling on calm waters. 

Jenks forgot his troubles. He forgot 
everything. He slumped in his seat 
and his eyes closed. The rain con- 
tinued falling from the strings of the 
violin. 

Suddenly the melody changed to . a 
glad little lilting measure, as sweet as 
love itself. The sun was coming oiit 
again and the ' birds began to sing. 
There was the trill of a canary with 
the sun on its cage. There wye the 
song of the thrush, the mocking-bird 
and the meadow lark. These 'blended 
finally into a melodious burst of chirp- 
ing melody which seemed a chorus of 
the wild birds of the forest and "glen. 
Then the lilting love measure again. 
'It 'tore at the heart strings, and brought 
tears to one's eyes. , i. 

Unconsciously the girl next to Jenks 
leaned towards him'. Involuntarily he 
leaned to meet her. Their shoulders 
touched. The cloud of her golden, hair 
came to rest against his dark locks. 
Their hands found each other with 
gentle pressure. Both were lost to the 
world. ■ 

Abruptly the music changed. There 
was a succession of. broken treble notes 
that sounded .like the crackling of 
flames. Moans deep -and melancholy 
followed. These grew more strident 
and prolonged, giving place to abject 
howls, suggesting the lamentations of 
the damned. ^ 

The, hands of the boy and girl 
.gripped tensely. They could not help 
shuddering. 

The Violin began to produce notes of 
a leering, jeering character, growing 
more horrible with each measure until 
they burst in a loud guffaw of maniac- 
al laughter. 

The whole performance -was as if 
someone had taken a heaven and 
plunged it into a hell. 

The musician bowed jerkily, and was 
gone. 



THERE was no applause, only wild 
exclamations. Half the house was 
on its feet. The other half sat u if 
glued to chairs.. , 

The boy and the girl were standing 
their hands still gripping tensely. 

"Come, let's get out of here," said 
Jenks. The girl took her wrap and 
Jenks helped her into it. Hand ia 
hand they fled the place. 

In the lobby their eyes met, and for 
the first time they realized they wen 
strangers. Vet deep in their hurt] 
was a feeling that their fates had beat 
sealed. 

"My goodness I" burst from the girl 

"It can't be helped now," said Jenks 
decisively. 

"Whaf\can't be -helped?" asked tat 
girl, although she knew in her heart. 

"Nothing can be helped," said Jenks, 
Then he added : "We. should know east 
other btt this time. We have M 
holdidgjbands for an hour." 'T 

The girl's eyes flared. "You have no 
right to presume on that situation,' 
she said. 

Jinks could have kicked himself, 
"Forgive me," he said. "It was onh- 
that I just wanted so to know yea, 
Won't you let me see you home?" 

'♦You may," said the girl simply, and 
she led the way to her own car. 

They drove north. 
'Their bodies sdemed like magnets, 
They were again shoulder to should*; 
holding hands. «, 

"Will you tell me your name?" 
pleaded Jenks. 

"Surely," replied the girl. "I m 
Elaine Linane." 

"What?"j^xploded Jenks. "Why, I 
work with a Linane, an engineer wttk 
the Muller Construction Company." 

"He is my father," she said. 

"Why, we are great friends," aid 
the boy. "I am Jenks, hit assistant— 
at least we work together." 

"Yes, I have heard of you," said Ik 
girl. "It is strange, the way we nit 
My father admires your work, bat, I 
am afraid you are not great friends," 
<*The girl had forgotten her troohka, 



MAD MUSIC 



She chuckled. She had heard tlje way 
Jealcs had "sounded" her father out. 

Jenks was speechless. The girl con- 
tinued: 

"I don't know whether to like you or 
to hate you. 1 My father is an old dear. 
You were cruel to him." 

Jenks was abject. "I did, not mean 
to be," he said. "He rather belittled 
me without realizing it. I had to make 
my stand. The difference in our years 
made him take me rather too lightly. 
I bad to compel his notice, if I was to 
advance." 

"Oh I" said the girl. 

"I am sorry — so sorry." 

"You might not have been altogether 
tt fault," said the girl. "Father forgets 
it times that I have grown up. I re- 
seat being treated like a child, but he 
is the soul of goodness and fatherly 
eire." 1 

"I know that,", said Jenks. 

EVERY engineer knows his mathe- 
matics. It wasting fact, 'coupled 
with what the world calls a "lucky 
break," that solved the Colossus mys- 
tery. Nobody can get around the fact 
that two and two make four. 

Jenks had happened on accomplish- 
ment to advance in the engineering pro- 
fession, and it was well for him that he 
bad reached a crisis. He had never be- 
lieved in luck or in hunches, bo it was 
good for him to" be brought face to face 
with the fact that sometimes the foot-, 
steps of man are guided. It made him 
begin to look .Into the engineering of 
the universe, to think more deeply, and 
to acknowledge a Higher Power. 

With Linane he had butted into a 
<*tone wall. "They Were coming to 
know what real trouble meant. The 
fact that they wire innocent did not 
make the steel bars of a cage any more 
attractive. Their troubles began to 
wrap about them with the clammy in- 
mnacy x>i a shroud. Then came the 
lucky break. L 

Next to his troubles, Jenks' favorite 
topic was the Mad Musician. He tried 
to learn all 'he could about this un- 



canny character at whose concert he 
had met the girl of his life. He learned 
1 two facts that made him perk up and 
think. 

One was that the Mad Musican had 
had offices and a studio in the Colossus 
and was one of the first to move in. 
The other was that the Mad Musician 
took great delight in shattering glass- 
ware with notes of or vibrations from 
a violin. Nearly everyone knows that 
a glass tumbler can be shattered by the 
proper note sounded' on a violin. The 
Mad. Musician took delight in this 
trick. Jenks courted his acquaintance, 
and saw him shatter a row of glasses 
.of different sizes by sounding different 
notes on his fiddle. The glasses 
- crashed one after another , like gelatine 
balls hit by the bullets of an expert 
rifleman. 

i 'Then Jenks, the engineer who* knew 
his mathematics, put two and two to- 
gether. It made four, of course. , 

"Listen, Linane," he said to bis co- 
worker : "tnis- fiddler is crazier than a 
flock of cuckoos. If he can crack 
crockery with violin sound vibrations, 
is it not possible, by carrying the vi- 
brations to a much higher power, that 
he could crack a pile of stone, steel, 
brick and cement, like; the Colossus?" 

"Possible, but hardl^ /probable. .Still," 
Linane mused, "when you think about 
it, and put two and two together. . . . 
Let's go after him 'and see what he is 
doing now'." 

Both jumped for their coats and hats. 
As they fared forth, Jenks cinched bis 
' argument : 

"If a madman takes delight in break- 
ing glassware with a vibratory wave or 
vibration, how much more of a thrill 
would'he get by crashing a mountain ?" 

"Wild, but unanswerable," said Lin- 
ane. 

"1 

JENKS had been calling on the Mad 
Musicaiuat his country place. "He> 
had a studio in the Colossus," he re- 
minded Linane. "He must have re- 
opened somewhere else in town. I 
wonder where." 



256 

t 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Musicians are great, union men," 
said Linane. "Phone the union." 

Teddy Jenks did, but the union gave, 
the last known town address as the 
Colossus. 

"He would remain in the same dis- 
trict around Times Square," reasoned 
Jenks. "Let's page out the big build- 
ings and see if he is not preparing to 
crash another one." 

"Fair enough," said Linane, who was 
too busy, with the problem at hand to 
choose his words. 

Together the engineers started a can- 
vass of the big buildings in the theatri- 
cal district. After four or five had been 
searched without result they entered 
the 30-story Acme Theater building. 

Here they learned that the Mad 
Musician had leased' a fear-room suite 
just a few days before. This suite was 
on the fifteenth floor, just half way up 
in the big structure. 

They went to the manager of the 
ouilding and frankly stated their sus- 
picions. "We want to enter that suite 
when the tenant is not there," they ex- 
plained, "and we want him forestalled 
from entering while we are examining 
the premises." 

"Hadn't we better notify, the police ?" 
asked the building manager, who had 
broken out in a sweat when be heard 
the aire disaster which might be in 
Store for the stately Acme building. 

"Nbt yet," said Linane. "You see, 
we are not sure: we have just been 
putting two and two together. 

"We'il get the building detective, 
?nyway," insisted the manager. 

"Let him come along, but do not let 
him know until we are sure. If we afe 
right we will find a most unusual in- 
fernal machine," said Linane. 

THE three men entered the suite 
with a pass-key. The detective 
was left outside in the hall to halt 
anyone who might disturb the search- 
ers. It was as Jenks had thought. In 
an inner room they found a diabolical 
machine — a single string stretched 
•cross two bridges, one of brass, and 



one of wood. A big horsehair bow at- 
tached to a shaft operated by a motor 
was automatically sawing across the 
string. The note resulting was evident- 
ly higher than the range of the human 
ear, because no audible sound resulted. 
It was later estimated that the de- 
structive note was several octaves 
higher than the highest » note on a 
piano. 

The entire machine was inclosed in a 
heavy wire-net cage, securely bolted/to 
the floor. Neither the string or bow-, 
could be reached. It was evidently the 
Mad Musician's idea that the devilish 
contrivance should not be reached by 
hands other than his own.' 
* How long the infernal machine had 
been operating no one knew, but the 
visitors were startled when the build- 
ing suddenly began to sway -percep- 
tibly. Jenks. jumped forward to stop 
the machine but could not find a switch. 

"See if the machine plugs in any 
where in a wall socket I"" he shouted to 
Linane. who promptly began examin- 
ing the walls. Jenks shouted to the 
building manager to phone the police 
to clear the streets around the big 
'building. 

'Tell the police that the Acme Thea- 
ter building may crash at any moment,' 
he instructed. . "* 

The engineers were perfectly cool hi' 
face of the great peril, but the building 
manager, lost his head completely and 
began to run around in circlet -mutter- 
ing : "Oh, my God, save me I" and other - 
words of supplication that blended into 
an incoherent babel. 

Jenks rushed to the man, trying to 
still his wild hysteria. 

The building continued to sway dan- 
gerously. 

JENKS looked from a window. Aa 
enormous crowd was collecting! 
watching the big building swingings' 
foot out of plumb like a giant pendu- 
lum. The crowd was growing. Should, 
the building fall the loss of life wooU 
be appalling. /It wa% mid-morning.- 
The interior of- the building teenaav 



MAD MUSIC 



jfth^fcousands of workers, for all 
|gors above the third were offices. 

Teddy Jenks turned suddenly. He 
lord the watchman in the hall scream 
in terror. Then he he%rd a body fall. 
He ruahed to 'the door to see the Mad 
Musician standing over the prostrate 
farm of the detective, a devilish grin 
& his distorted countenance. 

The madman turned, saw Jenks, arid 
tinted to run. Jenks took after him. 
Up the staircase the madman rushed to- 
ward the roof. Teddy followed him 
two floors and then rushed out to take 
the elevators. The building in its mad 
■wiring had made it impossible for the 
lifts to be operated. Teddy realized 
this with a distraught gulp in his 
throat He returned to the stairway 
and took up the pursuit of the madman. 

The corridors were -beginning to fill 
with screaming men and wailing girls. 
It was a might never to be forgotten. 
' Laboriously Jenks climbed story af- 
ter story without getting sight of the 
Finally he reached the roof. 
It was waving like swells on a lake be- 
fore t breeze. He caught sight of the 
Mad Musician standing on the street 
wall thirty stories from the street, a 
leer on his devilish visage. He jumped 
for him. 

The madman grasped him and lifted 
kirn up to the top of the wall as a cat 
night have lifted a mouse. Both men 
were breathing heavily as a result of 
their 15-story climb. 

- The madman tried to throw Teddy 
Jenks to the street below. Teddy clung 
to* him. The two battled desperately 
u tfee building swayed. 

The dense crowd in the street had 
taught sight of the two men fighting on 
the narrow-coping, and tfie snout which 
not the air reached the ears of Jenks. 

THE mind of the engineer was still 
working clearly, but a wild fear 
(ripped his heart. His strength seemed 
to be leaving him. The madman pushed 
kin back, bending his spine wi$h brute 
•rength. Teddy was forced to the nar- 
Wr ledge that had given the two men 



footing. The fingers of the madman 
gripped bis throat. 

He was dimly conscious that the 
swaying of the building wSs slowing 
down. His reason told him_that Linane 
had found the wall socket and had 
stopped the sawing of the devil's bow 
on the engine of hell. 

He saw the madman draw a big knife. 
With bis last remaining strength he 
reached out and grasped the wrist 
above tbe hand which held the weapon. 
In spite of all he could do he saw the 
madman inching the knife nearer and 
nearer his throat. 

Grim death was peering into the 
bulging eyes of Teddyjenks, when his 
engineering knowledge came to his res- 
cue. He remembered the top stories of 
the Acme building were constructed 
with a step of ten feet in from the 
street line, for every 'story of construc- 
tion above the 24th floor. 

"If Ave fall," he reasoned, "we can 
only fall one story." Then he deliber- 
ately rolled his own body and the 
weight of the madman, who held him, 
over the edge of the coping. At the' 
same time he twisted the madman's 
wrist so the point of the knife pointed 
to the madman's body. 

There was a. dim consciousness of a 
painful impact. Teddy had fallen un- 
derneath, but the force of the two 
bodies coming together had thrust the 
knife deep into the entrails of the Mad 
Musician. • 

Clouds which had "been collecting .in 
the sky began a splattering downpour. 
The storm grew in fury and lightning 
tore tbe heavens, while thunder boomed 
and crackled. The rain began falling 
in sheets. ^ 

THIS served' to revive the uncon- 
scious Teddy. He painfully with- 
drew his body from under that of the 
madman. The falling rain, stained 
with the blood of the Mad Musician, 
trickled over the edge of the building. 

Teddy dragged himself through a 
window and passed his hand over hit 
forehead, which was aching miserably. 



258 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



He tried to get to his feet and fell -back, 
only to try again. Several times he 
tried and then, his strength returning, 
he was able to walk. 

He macje his way to thcstudio where 
he had left Linane and found him there 
surrounded by police, reporters and 
others. The infernal machine had been 
rendered harmless, but was kept intact 
as evidence. 

Catching sight of Teddy, Linane 
shouted with joy. "I stopped the 
damned thing," he chuckled, like a 
pleased schoolboy. Then, observing 
Teddy's exhausted condition he added : 

"Why, you look like you have been 
to a funeral I" <r 

"I have," said Teddy. "You'll End 
that cWzy fiddler dead on the twenty- 
ninth/ttory. , Look out the window of 
the thirtieth story," Me instructed the 
police, who had started to recover the 
body. "He stabbed himself. He is 
either dead or dying." 

It proved that he was dead. 

No engineering firm is responsible 
for the actions of a madman. So the 
Muller Construction Company was giv- 
en a clean bill of health. 



JENK.S and Elaine Linane were 1 ! 
the girl's father in his study, 
were asking for the paternal f ' 
Linane was pretending to be ! 
convince. 

"Now, my daughter,'' he said, ' 
young man takes $500 of my .pg| 
money by sounding me out, aa he ah 
it. Then he comes along and trie 
take my daughter away from me. bfa 
positively highhanded. It dates haft 
to the football\game — " 

"Daddy, dear, don't be like tfcsjf 
said Elaine, who was pn the arm efifc 
chair with her own arms around Mb* 
"I tell you, Elaine, this date* iMk 
to the fall of 1927." 

"It dates back to the iall of 
said Elaine. "When a girl Ends fc» 
man, no power can keep him fraaffc 
If you won't give me to Teddy Jafe, 
I'll elope with him." 

"Well, all right then. Kiss me," all 
Lilians, as he turned towards hit iwh 
set. * 

"One and one makes one," said TeUf 
Jenks. 

Every engineer knows his natttv 
matics. 




u written in to 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Yet 



Just 




Editors 
ind of 
Stories You Would Like 
Them to Secure for You? 



"That man never entered and stole that money ar the picture shows, 
unless he managed to make himself invisible." 

The Thief of Time 

By Captain S. J*. Meek 



HARVEY WINSTON, paying 
teller of the First National 
Bank of Chicago, stripped the 
band from a bundle of twenty 
dollar .bills, counted out seventeen o£ 
them and added ^ 
them to the pile f-5~ 
oo the 'counter 
before him. 

"Twelve hun- 
dred and thirty- 

one tens," he read from the payroll 



The teller turned to the stacked pile of 
bills. They were gone! And ire one had 
been near! 



of the Cramer Packing Company nod- 
ded an assent and Winston turned to 
the stacked bills in his rear currency 
rack. He picked up a handful of bun- 
dles and turned back to the grill. His 
gaze swept the 
counter where, • a 
moment before, 
he had stacked 
the twenties, and 
his jaw dropped. 



"You got those twenties, Mr. Trier?" 
change slip before him. The paymaster he asked. 

259 >, 



260 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Got them? Of course not, how 
could I?" replied the paymaster. 
"There they are " 

His v*oic,e trailed off into nothing- 
ness as he looked at the empty counter. 

."I must have dropped them," said 
Winston as he turned. He glanced 
back at the rear rack where his main 
stock of currency was piled. He. stood 
paralyzed^ for a moment and then 
reached under the counter and. pushed 
a button. 

The bank resounded instantly to the 
clangor of gongs and huge stjjel grills 
shot into place with a clfng, sealing all 
doors and preventing anyone from en-, 
tering or- leaving the bank. 'The guards 
sprang to their stations wjMv, drawn 
weapons and from the inner offices the 
bank officials came swarming out. The 
cashier, followed by two* men, hurried 
to the paying teller's cage. jtL 
"What is it, Mr. Winston?" he cfl 
"I've bfen robbed I" gaBped^^^P 

mm 

"Who by? How?" demanded ^ne 
cashier. 

"I — I don't know, sir," stammered 
the teller. "I was counting out Mr.< 
Trier's payroll, and after I had stacked 
the twenties I turned to get the tens": 
When I turned back the twenties were 
gone." 

"Where had they gone?" asked the 
cashier,.- 

"I don't know, sir. Mr. Trier was as 
surprised as I was, and then V turned 
back, thinking that I had knocked thenr 
off the counter, and I saw at a glance 
that there was a big hole in my back 
racks. You can see yourself, sir." 

The cashier turned to the paymaster. 

"Is this a practical joke, Mr. Trier?" 
he demanded, sharply. 

"Of course not," replied the paymas- 
ter. "Winston's grill was closed. It 
still is. Granted that I might have 
reached the twenties he had piled up, 
how could I have gone through a grill 
and .taken the rest of the missing 
money without his seeing me? The 
money disappeared almost instantly. 
It was there a moment before, for I 



noticed when Winston todk the twth 
ties from his rack that it was full" 

"But ' someone must have taken It," 
said the bewildered cashier. "Money 
doesn't walk off of its own accord ft 
vanish into thin air — " 
A bell interrupted his speech. 
' "There are the police," he said with 
an air of relief. "I'll let them in." 

THJE smaller of the two men wha 
had -.followed the cashier from ks 
office when the alarm had sounded 
stepped forward and spoke quietly. 
His .voice, was low and well pitched 
yet it carried a note of authority tad 
power that held his auditors' attentisi 
while he spoke. The voice harmonized 
with the "man. The most noticeable 
point about him was the incontpicaoM 
of his voice and manner, yet there way 
a glint of steel in his gray eyes that 
told of enormous force in him. ,- 

"I don't believe that I would Id 
them in for a few moments, kit. 
Rogers," he said. "I think that we in 
up against something a little differed 
from the usual bank Tobbery." * 
^But, Mr. Carnes," protested tht 
cashier, "we must call in the police k 
a case like this, and the sooner they 
take charge the better chance then 
will be of apprehending the thief." 

"Suit yourself," replied the littk 
man with a shrug of his shoulders. "I 
merely offered my advice." 

"Will you take charge, Mr. CarnejT 
asked the cashier. 

"I can't supersede the local authori- 
ties in a case like this," replied Camel 
"The secret service is primarily inter- 
ested in the suppression of counter* 
feiting and the enforcement of certain 
federal statutes, but I will be glad t» 
assist the local authorities to the best 
of my ability, provided they desire my 
help. My advice to you would be ta 
keep out the patrolmen who are de- 
manding admittance and get in touch 
with the chief of police. I would afk 
that his best detective together with as 
expert finger-print photographer ht 
sent here before anyone else ii.ai* 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



261 



Bitted. If the patrolmen are allowed 
to wipe their hands over Mr. Winston's 
counter they may destroy valuable evi- 
dence." 

"You are right, Mr. Cames," ex- 
claimed the cashier. "Mr. Jervis, will 
you tell the police that there is no 
violence threatening and ask them "to 
wait for a few minutes? I'll telephone 
the chief of police at once." 



Carries stepped a little closer' to the 
doctor. 

4-' Another reason, why I didn't want 
patrolmen tramping around," he said 
in an undertone, "is this. If Winston 
gave the alarm quickly enough, the 
thief is probably still in the building." 

"He's a good many miles away by 
now," replied Dr. Bird with a shrug of 
his shoulders. 



AS the cashier hurried away to his /"*. ARNES" eyes opened widely, 
telephone Carries turned to his V> "Why? — how? — who?" he stam- 
companiofi who had stood an inter- mered. "Have you any idea of who 
ested, although silent spectator of the did it, or how it was done?" , 
'icene. His companion was a marked "Possibly I have an idea," replied 
contrast to the Secret service operator. Dr. Bird with a cryptic smile. "My 
He stood well over six feet in height, advice to you, Carnes, is to keep away 
t tai his protruding jaw- and shock of -from the local authorities as much as 
unruly black hair combined 'with his possible. I want to be present when 
massive shoulders and chest to give Winston and Trier are questioned and 
him the appearance of a man who I may possibly wish to ask a few ques- 
libored with his hands — until one tions myself. . Use your authority that 
looked at them. His hands were in far, but no farther. Don^t volunteer 
strange contrast to -the rest of him. any information and especially don't 
Long, slim, mobile hands they, were, let' my name get out. We'll drop the 
with tapering nervous fingers — the counterfeiting case we were summoned 
hands of a thinker or of a musician. > here ort for the present and look into 
Telltale splotches bf acid told of hours this a little on our own hook. I will 
spent in a laboratory, a tale that was want your aid, so don't get tied up 
confirmed by the almost imperceptible ^vvth the police." a) 
'stoop of his shoulders. "At that; we don't want the police 
"Do you agree 'with my advice, Dr. grossing our trail at every turn," pro- 
Bird?" asked Carncs deferentially. tested Carnes. 

The noted scientist, who from his ''They won't," promised the doctor, 

laboratory in the Bureau bf Standards "They Will never get any evidence on 

had sent forth many new things in the this case, if I am right, and neither 

realms of chemistry and physics, and will We — for the present. Our stunt is 

who, incidentally, had been instrument to lie. low and wait for the taexf at- 

til in solving some of the most tempt of this nature and thus accumu- 

haffling mysteries which the secret late some evidence and some idea of 

amice had been called upon to face, where to look." ____ 

gnmted. "Will; there be another attempt?" 

"It didn't do any harm," he said, "but asked Carnes. 

It is rather a waste of time'. The thief "Surely. You don't expect a man 

wore gloves." who got away with a crime like' this 

"How in thunder do you know that ?" to quit operations just because a few 

demanded Carnes. flatfeet run around and make a hulla- 

, "It's merely common sense^A man baloo about it, do you? I may be 

who can do what he did had at least wrong in my Assumption, but if I am 

•sane rudiments -of intelligence, and right, the most important thing is fo 

*»en the feeblest-minded crooks know keep all reference to my name or poai- 

tnoogh to wear gloves nowadays." tion out of the press reports." 



262 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The cashier hastened up to them. 

"Detective-Captain Sturtevant will 
be here in a few minutes with a (pho- 
tographer and some other men/' he 
said. "Is there anything that we can 
do in the meantime, Mr. Carnes?" 

"I would suggest that Mr. Trier and 
bis guard and Mr. Winston go i 
your office," replied Carnes. "My: 



you come clean and spill it, the bettv 
it will be for you. Where did you hMi 

it?" 

"I didn't hide it I" cried the teller, 
his voice trembling "Mr. Trier cat 
tell you that I didn't touch it from the 
time I laid it down' until I turned 
back.^ \ 

"Thai's right," replied the payna*. 



sistant and I would like to be present sAaper. "lie turned his back on me for 
during' the questioning, if there are no a moment, and when he turned back, 



objections." * 

"I - didn't know that you had an 
assistant iwith you," answered the 
cashier/ 

Games indicated Dr. Bird. 

"This gentleman is Mr. Berger, my 
assistant," he said. "Do you under- 
stand ?" 

"Certainly. I am sure there will be 
ho objection to your presence, Mr. 
Carnes," replied the cashier as he led 
the way to his office. 

A FEW minutes later Detective- 
Captain Sturtevant of* the Chicago . 
police was announced. He acknowl- 
edged the. introductions gruffly ' and 
got down, rb business at once. , 
' "What were the circumstances of 
the robbery?" he asked. 

Winston told his story, Trier and 
the guard -confirming it. 

"Pretty thin I" snorted the detective 
when they had 'finished. He whirled 
suddenly on Winston. 

"Where did you hide the loot?" he 
thundered. 

"Why — uh — er — what do you mean ?" 
gulped the teller. 

"Just what I said," replied the detec- 
tive. "Where did, you hide the loot," 
^ "I didn't hide it anywhere," said the 
teller. "It was stolen." 

"You had better .thiijk up a better 
one," sneered Sturtevant. "If you think 
that you can make me believe ,that that 
money was stolen from you in broad 
daylight with two men in plain sight 
of you who didn't see it, you might 
just as well get over it. I know that 
you have some hiding place where you 
have slipped the stuff and the quicker 



it was gone. 

"So you're in on it ,too, are you?* 
said Sturtevant. 

"What do you mean?" demanded 
the paymaster hotly. 

"Oh nothing, nothing at all," replied 
the - detective. "Of course Winston 
didn't touch it and it disappeared tad 
you never saw it go, although jm 
were within three feet of it all tat 
time.. Did you see anything?" he de- 
manded of the guard. 

"Nothing that I am sure of," th- 
swered. the guard. "I thought that a 
shadow passed in front of me for ta 
instant, but when I looked again, it 
was gone." 



D 



R. BIRD sat forward suddenly. 



like?" he asked. 

"It wasn't exactly a shadow," aid 
the' guard. "It was as if a person hid 
passed suddenly before me sy quickly 
that I couldn't see him. I seemed tt 
feel that there was someone there, bat 
I didn't rightly see anything." 

"Did you notice anything of the. 
sort?" demanded the doctor of Trier. 

"J don't know","- replied Triei 
thoughtfully. "Now that Williams bM 
mentioned it, I did seem jo feel l 
breath of air or a morion as thoa|k 
something had passed in front of me. 
I didn't think Of it at the time" 

"Was this shadow opaque enough to 
even momentarily obscure your vi- 
sion?" went on ttfe doctor. 

"Not that I am conscious of. It wm 
just a breath of air such as a penal 
mighty cause by passing very rapidly. 

"What made you ask Trier if he kerf 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



263 



the money when you turned aTound?" 
aked the doctor of Winston. 

"Say-y-y." broke in the detective. 
•Who the devil are you, and what do 
you mean by breaking inta/my ex- 
amination and stopping it?" 

Carnes tossed a- leather wallet *on the 
table. 

"There are my credentials," he said 
in his quiet voice. "I am chief of one 
icction of the United States' Secret 
Service as you will see, and this is Mr. 
Berger, my assistant. We were in the 
bulk, engaged on a counterfeiting case, 
irhen the robbery took place. We have 
had a good deal of experience along 
these lines and we are merely anxious 
to aid you." 

Sturtevant examined Carnes' creden- 
tials carefully and returned them. 

This is a Chicago robbery," he said, 
"tod we have had a-Jittle experience in 
robberies and in apprehending robbers 
ourselves. I think that we can get 
along without your help." 

"You have had more experience with 
robberies that with apprehending rob- 
bers if the papers tell the truth," said 
Dr. Bird with a chuckle. 

THE detective's face^ Hushed. 
"That will be enough from you, 
Mr. Sherlock Holmes," he said. "If 
you open your mouth again, I'll arrest 
you as a material witness and as a pos- 
sible accomplice." 

-That sounds -like Chicago methods," 
Bid Carnes quietly. "Now listen to 
oe. Captain. My assistant and I are 
merely trying to assist you in this 
case. If ypu don't desire our assistance 
toll proceed along our own lines with- 
out interfering, but in the meantime 
remember that this is a' National Bank, 
and that -our questions will be an- 
swered. The United States is higher 
than even the Chicago police force, and 
I am here under orders to investigate 
• counterfeiting case. If I desire, I 
can seal the doors of this bank and al- 
low no one in or out until I have the 
evidence I desire/ Do you under-' 
stand r 



Sturtevant Sprang to his feet with an 
oath, but the sight of the gold badge 
which Carnes displayed stopped him. 

"Oh well," he said ungraciously. "I 
suppose, that no harm will ,come of 
letting .Winston answer your fool 
questions, but I'll warn you that I'll re- 
port to Washington that you are inter- 
fering with the course of justice and 
using your- authority to aid the get* 
away of a criminal;'' 

"That is your privilege," replied 
.Carnes quietly.' "Mr. Winston, will 
you answer Mr. Berger's question?." 

"Why, I asked him- because he was 
right close to the money, and I thought 
that he might have reached through the 
wicket and picked it up. Then, too — " 

He hesitated for a moment and Dr. 
Bird smiled encouragingly. 

"What else?" he asked. 

"Why, I can't exactly tell. It just 
seemed to me that I had heard the 
rustle that bills make when they are 
pulled across a counter. When I saw 
them gone, I thought that he might 
have taken, them. Then when I turned 
toward him, I seamed to hear tile rustle 
of bills behind me, .although I knew 
that I was alone in' the cage. Wherf I 
looked back the money was gone.'.' 

"Did you see or bear anything like a 
shadow or a person moving?'' 

"No — yes — I don't' know. Just as I 
turrfed around it seemed to me that the 
rear door to my cage had moved cand 
there may have been a shadow for an 
instant. I don't know. I' hadn't 
thought of it before." 

"How long after that did you ring 
the alarm gongs?" 

"Not over a second or two." 

"That's -all," said Dr.' Bird. 

"If your high and mightiness has no 
further questions to ask, perhaps you 
will let me ask a few," said Sturtevant. 

4< /""MO ahead, ask all you wish,"- re- 
VJ plied Dr. Bird with a laugh. "I 
have all the information I desire here 
for the present. I may want to ask 
other questions -later, but just now I 
think we'll be going." 



264 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"If you find any strange finger-prints 
on Winston's, counter, I'll be glad to 
have them compared with our files," 
said Carries. 

"I am not bothering with finger- 
prints," snorted the detective. "This 
is an open, and shut case. There Would 
be 4ots of Winston's finger-prints there 
and no others. There isn't the slight- 
est doubt that this is an inside case 
and I have the men I want right here. 
Mr. Rogers, your bank is closed for 
today. Everyone in M will be searched 
and then all those not needed* to dose 
up will be sent away. I will get a 
squad of men here to go over your 
building and locate the hiding place. 
Your money is still on the premises 
unless these men slipped it to -a; con- 
federate who got out before the alarm 
was given. I'll question the guards 
about that. If that happened, a little 
sweating will get it out of them." 

"Are you going to arrest me?!' de- 
manded Trier in surprise. 

"Yes, dearie," answered the detec- 
tive. "I am going to arrest you and 
your two little playmates -if jthese 
Washington experts will allow me to. 
You will save 'a lot of time and quite 
a few paipfiil experiences if you will 
come clean now instead of later." 

"I demand to see my lawyer and to 
communicate with my firm," said the 
paymaster. 

"Time enough for that when I am 
through with you," replied the detec- 
tive. > 

He turned to Games. 

"Have I your gracious permission to 
arrest these three criminals?" he 
asked. 

,f Ycs indeed. Captain," replied. 
Carnes sweetly. "Yqu have my gra- 
cious permission to make JuBt as big 
an ass of yourself as you wish. We're 
going now." 

U T"> Y the way. Captain," said Dr. 

J_J Bird as he followed Carnes out. 
"When you get through playing: with 
your prisoners and start to look for 
the thief, here is a tip. Look lot a 



left-handed man who has a thorotajl 
knowledge of chemistry and especially 

toxicology*.'. 

"It's easy enough to see that he wm 
left-handed if he pulled that money 
out through -the grill from the posi- 
tions occupied by Trier and his guard, 
but what the dickens led you to gas- 
ped that he is a «fiemist and a tod. 
cologist ?" asked Carnes as he and the 
doctor left the bank. 

"Merely a shrewd guess, my den 
Watson," replied the doctor with a 
chuckle. "I am likely to be wrong, bit 
there is a good chance that I am right 
I am judging solely from the method 
used." 

"Have you solved the method?" de- 
manded Carnes in amazement. "Whtt 
on earth was it? The more I hate 
thought about it, the more inclined I 
am to believe that Sturtevant is right 
and that it is an inside job. It teen 
to me impossible that a man could bin 
entered in broad daylight and lifted 
that money in front of three men tad 
within sight of a hundred more with- 
out some one getting a .glimpse of his. 
He must have taken the money out is 
a grip or a sack or something like that, 
yet the bank record shows that no one 
but Trier entered with a grip and no. 
one left with a package for ten minuttt 
before Trier entered." 
. "There may be something in what 
"you say, Carnes, but I am inclined tt 
have a different idea. I don't think it 
is the usual run of bank robbery, and 
I would rathsr not hazard a guess jott 
now. I am going 1 back to Washington 
to-night. Before I go v any further into 
the matter, I need some rather special- 
ized knowledge that I don't posMSl 
and I want to consurfwith Dr. Knolks. 
I'll be back in a week or so and dies 
we" can jook into that counterfeiting 
case after we get this disposed of." 

"What am I to do?" asked Carnes. 

"Sit around the lobby of your hotel, 
eat three meals a .day, and read the ta- 
pers. If you get bored, I 'would ret- 
-ornmend that you pay a visit to the Art 
Institute and admire the graceful Vtm 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



265 



which adorn the steps. Artistic con-v 
temptations may well improve -your 
culture." 

"All righC replied Carnes. "I'll as- 
tuffle a pensive air and moon at the 
lions, but I might do better if you told 
me what I. was looking for.", 

"You are looking for knowledge, my 
dear Carnes," said the doctor with a 
laugh. "Remember the saying of the 
uges: To the wise man, no knowledge* 
ii useless." -* 

A HUGE Martin bomber roared 
down to a landing ar* the May- 
wood airdrome, and a burly figure 
descended from- the rear cockpit and 
waved his hand jovially to the waiting 
Cames. The secret service man 
kittened over to greet his colleague. 

"Have you got *hat truck 1 wired 
you to have ready?" demanded the 
doctor. 

"Wai|ing at the entrance; but say, 
Tvi got some news for you." 

"It can wait. Get a detail of men 
and help us to unload this ship. Some 
of the cases are pretty heavy." 
. Carnes hurried off and returned with 
a gang of laborers, who took from the 
bomber a dozen heavy packing cases 
of various sizes,' several of them 
labelled either "Fragile" or "Inflam- 
mable" in large type. 

"Where do they go, Doctor?" he 
liked when the last of them had been 
loaded onto the waiting truck. , 

"To the First National Bank," re- 
plied Dr. Bird, "and Casey here goes 
with them. You know Casey, don't 
you, Carnes? He is the best photogra- 
pher in the Bureau." 

"Shall I go along too?" asked 
Cames as he acknowledged the intro- 
duction. 

"No need for it. I wired Rogers and 
he knows the stuff is coming and what 
to do with it. Unpack as" soon as you 
get there, Casey, 'and start setting up 
M toon as the bank closes." 

"All right, Doctor," replied Casey as 
he mounted the truck beside the 
•war. 



"Where do we go, Doctor?" asked 
Carnes as the truck rolled off. 

"To the Blackstone Hotel for a bath 
and some clean clothes," replied the 
.doctor. "And now, what is the news 
you have for me?" 

"The news is this, Doctor. I carried 
out' your instructions diligently and, 
during the daylight hours, the lions 
have not moved." 

DR. BIRD looked contrite. 
"I beg your pardon, Cames," he 
said. "I really didn't think when I 
left you so mystified how you must 
have felt. Believe me, I had my own 
reasons, excellent ones, for secrecy." 

"I have usually been able to main- 
tain silence when asked to," replied 
Carnes stiffly. 

"My dear fellow, I - didn't mean to 
question your discretion. I know that 
whatever I tell you is safe, but there 
are angles to this affair that are so 
wejrd and improbable that I don't dare 
to trust my own conclusions, let alone 
share them. I'll tell you all about it 
soon. Did you get those tickets I 
wired for?" • 

"Of course I got them, but what have 
two' tickets to the A. A. U. track' meet 
this afternoon got to do with a bank 
robbery ?" 
i."One trouble with you, Carnes," re- 
plied the doctor with a judical air, "is 
that you have no idea , of .the im- 
portance of proper relaxation. It it 
possible that .you have no desire to see 
Ladd, this new marvel who is" smashing 
records right arid left, run? He per- 
forms' for the Illinois Athletic Club 
this afternoon, and it would not sur- 
prise me to see him lower the world's 
record again. He has already lowered 
the record for the hundred yard dash 
from nine and three-fifths to eight and 
four-fifths. There is -no telling what 
he will do." 

"Are we going to waste the whole 
afternon just "to watch a man run?" 
demanded Carnes in disgust. 

"We will see, many men run. my dear 
fellow, but there is only one in whom 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



I ""have a deep abiding' interest, and 
that is Mr. Ladd. Have you your 
binoculars, with you ?" ' 
"No." : f 

"Then by all means beg, borrow or 
steal two pairs before this afternoon. 
We might easily miss half the fun 
without them. Are' our seats near the 
starting line fAV the sprints?" 

"Yes. The big demand was for seats 
near the finish line." 

"The start will be much more inter- 
esting, Carnes. I was ^somewhat of a 
minor star in track myself in my col- 
lege days and it will be of the greatest 
interest to me to observe the starting 
form of this new speed artist. Now 
Carnes, don't ask any more questions. 
I may be barking up the wrong tree 
and I don't want to give yon a chance 
to laugh, at me. I'll {ell you what to 
watch for at the track." 

THE sprinters lined up on the 
hundred yard mark and Dr. Bird 
and Carnes sat with their glasses 
glued fo their eyes, watching the slim 
figure in the colors of the Illinois 
Athletic Club, whose large "62" on'his 
batik identified him as the new. star. 

"On your mark I" cried the starter. 
"Get set I" i 

"Ah!" cried Dr. Bird. "Did you see 
that, Carnes?" 

'The starting gun cracked and the; 
runners were off on their short grind. 
Ladd leaped into the .lead and rapidly 
distanced the field, his legs' twinkling 
under him almost faster than the eye 
Could Tollo)v. He was fully twenty 
yards in the lead when his speed sud- 
denly lessened and the balance of the 
runners closed up the gap m had 
opened. His lead was" too great for 
them, and he was still a good ten yards 
in, the lead when he crossed the tape. 
The official time was posted as. eight 
and nine-tenths seconds. 

"Another: thirty yards and>he would 
have been beaten," said Carnes as: he 
lowered his; glasses. 

"That is the way he ha$ won all of 
bis races," replied the doctor. "Ha 



piles up a huge lead at first and thea 
loses a. good dqal at the finish. Hit 
speed doesn't hold up. Never mind 
that, though, it is only an addition^] 
point in my favor. Did you notice his 
jaws just before the gun went?" 

"They seemed to clench and then he 
swallowed, but most of them did some 
thing like that." 

"Watch him carefully for the next 
heat and see if he puts anything into 
his mouth. That is the important 
thing." / 

Dr. Bird sank into a brown study 
and paid no attention to the next few 
events, but he came to ^attention 
promptly when the final heat of the 
hundred yard dash was called. With 
his glasses he watched Ladd closely u 
t^e runner trotted up to the starting 
line. 

"There, Carnes I" he cried suddenly. 
"Did you see?" ' 

"I saw him wipe his mouth," uid 
i Carnes doubtfully. » 1 

"All right, now. watch his jaws just, 
before the gun goes." 

THE final heat- was a duplicate of 
the first preliminary. Ladd took 
an early lead which he held for three- 
fourths of the distance to the tape, 
then his pace slackened and he finished 
only a bare- ten yards ahead of the next 
runner. The time tied his previous 
world's record of eight and four-Jifths 
seconds. 

"He crunched and swallowed all 
right, Doctor," said Carnes. ; 

"That is all I wanted to be sure of. 
Now Carnes, here is something for yoa 
to do. Get hold of the United States 
Commissioner and get a John Doe 
warrant and go back to the hotel with 
it and wait for me. I may phone yoa 
at any minute and I may not. If I 
don't, wait fn your room until you heav 
from me. Don't leave it'for a minute." 

"Where are you going, Doctor?" 

"I'm going down and congratulate 
Mr. Ladd. An old track man like ox 
can't let auch an opportunity pass." 

*"I don't know what this is all a boot 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



207 



Doctor," replied Carries, "but I know^ 
you well enough to obey orders and to 
keep my mouth shut until it is my 
turn to speak." 

Few men could resist Dr. Bird when 
he set out to make a favorable impres- 
ifonf-and even a world's champion is 
apt to be flattered by the attention of 
one of the greatest scientists of his 
day, especially when that scientist has 
nude an Unviable reputation as an ath- 
lete in his college days and can talk 
die jargon of the champion's particu- 
lar sport. Henry Ladd promptly capit- 
ulated to the charm of the doctor- and 
allowed himself to be led away to sup- 
per at Bird's club. The supper passed 
off pleasantly, and when the doctor re- 
quested an interview with the young 
athlete in a private room, he gladly 
consented. THey entered the room to- 
gether, remained for an hour and a 
hali, and then came out. The smile 
had left .Ladd's face and he appeared 
nervous and distracted. The doctor 
talked cheerfully with him but kept a 
firm grip on his arm as they descended 
the stairs together. They entered a 
-telephone booth where the dtfctor made 
several calls, and then descended to the 
itreet, where they entered a taxi. 

"Haywood airdrome," the doctor told 
the driver. 

TWO hoiits later the big Martin 
bomber which had carried the 
doctor to Chicago roared away into the 
sight, and Bird turned back, reentered 
fie taxi, and headed for the city aldrle. 

When Carnes received the telephone 
call, which was one of those the doc- 
tor made from the booth in his club, 
he hurried over to the First National 
Bank. His badge~ secured him an en- 
trance and he found Casey busily en- 
gaged in rigging up an elaborate piece 
of apparatus on one of the balconies 
•here guards were normally stationed 
earing banking hours. 
/"Dr. Bird said to tell you to keep on 
ny job all night if necessary," he told 
Casey. "He thinks he will need your 
BSKhine to-morrow." 



"I'll have it ready to turn on the 
power at four A- M.," replied Casey. 

Carnes watched' him curiously for a 
while as he soldered together the elec- 
trical connections and assembled an ap- 
paratus which looked like % motion pic- 
ture projector. 

".What are you setting up ?" he asked 
at length. 

"It is a high speed motion picture 
camera," replied Casey, "with a tele- 
scopic lens. It is a piece of apparatus 
which Dr. Bird designed f»hile he was 
in Washington last week and which I 
made from his sketches, using some 
apparatus we had on hand. It's a 
dandy, all. right." . 

"What is special about it?" 

"The speed. You know how fast an 
ordinary movie is taken, don't you? 
No? Well, it's sixteen exposures per 
second. The slow pictures are taken 
sometimes at a hundred and twenty- 
eight or two hundred and fifty-six ex- 
posures per second, and then shown at 
sixteen. This affair will take half a 
million pictures per second." 

"I didn't know that a film would reg- 
ister with tha| short an exposure." 

"fT* HAT'S slow." replied Casey 
X wifW a laugh. "It all depends on 
the light. The best flash-light powder 
gives a flash about one ten-thousandth 
of a second in duration, but that is by 
no means the speed limit of the film* 
The only trouble is enough light and 
sufficient shutter speed. Pictures have 
been taken by means of spark photog- 
raphy with an exposure of less than 
one three-millionth of a second. The 
whole secret of this machine lies in 
the shutter.. This big disc with the 
slots in the edge is. set up before the 
lens and run at such a speed that half 
a million Blots per second pass before 
the lens. The film, which is sixteen 
millimeter X-ray film, travels behind 
the lens at a speed of nearly five-miles 
per second. It has to be gradually 
worked up to this speed, and after the 
whole thing is set up, it takes it nearly 
four hours to get to full speed." " 



268 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"At that speed, it must take a mil- 
lion miles of 'film before you get up 
■team." 

"It would, if the film were being ex- 
posed. There is only about a hundred 
yards of film all told, which will run 
over these huge drums in an endless 
belt. There is a regular camera shut- 
ter working on an electric principle 
which remains closed. When the 
switch is tripped, the shutter opens in 
about two thirty-thousandths of a sec- 
ond, stays open just one**one-huhdredth 
of a second, and titan closes. This time 
is enough to expose nearly all of our 
film. When we have our picture, I 
shut the current down, start applying 
a magnetic brake, and let -it slow down. 
It takes over an hour to' stop it without 
breaking the film. It sounds compli- 
cated, but it works all right." ' 

"Where is your switch?" 

"/"IAHAT is tlie trick part of it. It 
J. is a remote control affair. The 
shutter opens and starts the machine 
taking . pictures when the back door 
of the paying teller's &ge is opened 
half an inch. There is also a hand 
switch in the line that can be opened 
so that you can open the door without 
setting off the camera, if you wish. 
When the hand switch is closed and 
the door opened, this is what happens. 
The shutter on the camera opens, the 
. machine takes five thousand pictures 
during the next hundredth of i a sec- 
ond, and th?n the shutter closes. Those 
five thousand exposures will take about 
five minutes to show at the usual rate 
of sixteen per second." 

"You said that you had to get plenty 
of light. How are you managing that?" 

"The camera, is equipped with a spe- 
cial lens ground out of rock crystal. 
This lens lets in ultra-violet light 
which the ordinary lens shuts out, and 
X-ray film is especially sensitive to 
ultra-violet light. Sin order to-be sure 
that we get enough illumination, I will 
set up these two ultra-violet floodlights 
to illumine, the cage. The teller will 
bare to wear glasses to protect his eyes' 



and he'll get well sunburned, but some, 
thing has to be sacrificed to science, 
as Dr. Bird is always telling me.' 

"It's too deep fot me," said Carnei 
with a sigh. "Can I do anything, to 
.help? The doctor told me to stand by 
and do anything I could." 

VI might be able to use you a little 
if yqu can use tools," said Casey win 
a grjn. J'You can start bolting together 
that light proof shield if you want 'to* 

"TX TELL, Camet, did you have an 
VV instructive night?" asked Dr.i 
Bird cheerfully as he entered the Pint 
National Bank at eight-thirty the neat 
»>orning. r 

"I don't see that I did much good, 
Doctor. Casey would have had the ma- 
chine ready on time anyway, and I'm 
no machinist." 

"Well, frankly, Carries, I didn't ex- 
pect you to be of much help to him, 
but I v did want you to see what Casey 
was doing, and a little of it was pretty 
heavy for (him to handle alone. I sap- 
pose that everything is reddy?" 

"The motor reached full speed about 
fifteen minutes ago and Casey went 
out to get a cup of coffee. Would yon 
mind telling me the object of the 
whole thing?" 

"Not at all. I plan to make a perma- 
nent record of the work of the most 
ingenious bank robber in the world. J 
hope he Jjeeps his word." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Three days ago when Sturtevant 
sweated a 'confession' out of poor Win- 
ston, the bank got a message that the 
robbery would be repeated this morn- 
ing and dared them to. prevent it. Rog- 
ers thought it was a hoax, but he tele- 
phoned me and I worked the Burem 
men night and day to get my earner* 
ready in time fbr kirn. I am afraid 
that I can't do much to prevent the 
robbery, but I may be able to take i 
picture of it and "thus prevent other 
cases of a like nature." 

"Was the Naming. written?" 

"No. It was telephoned from a pay 
station- in the loop district, and by the 



(fane it was i traced and men got theret 
the telephoher was probably a mile 
■way. He said that he would rob the 
tame cage in the same manner as he 
did before."' 

"Aren't you taking any special pre- 
cautions?" 

"Oh, yes, the bank is putting on extra 
guards ajid making a lot of fuss of that 
sort, probably to the great amusement 
of the robber." 

"Why not close the cage for the 
Uayf 

Then he would rob a different one 
«nd we would have no way of photo- 
graphing his actions. To be sure, we 
will put dummy money there, bundles 
with bills on the outside and paper on 
the inside, so if - 1 don't get a picture 
of him, he won't get much. Svery bill 
in the cage will be marked as well." 
'. "Did he say at what time he would 
operate?" :/ T ~ 

"No, he didn't, so we'll have to stand 
by all day. Oh, hello, Casey, is every- 
thing all right ?" 

"As sweet as chocolate candy. Doc- 
tor. I have tested it out thoroughly, 
and unless we have to run it so long 
(hat the film wears out and breaks, we 
are sitting ptetty. If we don't get the 
pictures you are looking for,' I'm a 
dodo, and I haven't been called that 
yet." 

"Good work, Casey. Keep the bear- 
ings oiled and pray that the film doesn't 
break." 

THE bank had been opened only, 
ten minutes when the clangor of 
gongs announced a robbery. It was 
practically' a duplicate of the first. The 
paying teller had turned from his, win- 
dow to take some bills from his rack 
'and had found several dozens of bun- 
dles missing. As the gongs sounded, 
Dr. Bird and Casey leaped to the cam- 
era. 

"She snapped, Doctor I" cried Casey 
as he threw two switches. "It'll take 
an hoar to stop and half a day to de- 
velop the film, but I ought to be able 
to show you what we got by to-night." 



THE THIEF OF TIME 269 

f 

\ ''(Good enough I" cried Dr. Bird. "Co 
ahead while I try to calm down the 



bank officials. Will you have every- 
thing ready by eight o'clock?" 

"Easy, Doctor," replied Casey as he 
turned to the magnetic brake. 

By eight o'clock quite' a crowd had 
assembled in a private room at the 
Blackstone Hotel. Besides Dr. Bird 
and Carnea, Rogers and several other 
officials of the First National Bank 
were present, together with Detective- 
Captain Sturtevant and a group of the 
most prominent scientists and physi- 
cians gathered from the schools of the 
city. 

"Gentlemen," said Dr. Bird when all 
had taken seats facing a miniature 
moving picture screen on one wall, "to- 
night I expect to show you some pic- 
tures which will, I am sure, astonish 
you. It marks the advent of a new de- 
parture in transcendental medicine. I 
will be glad to answer any questions 
you may wisn to ask >nd to explain 
the pictures after they -are shown, but 
before we start a discussion, I will ask 
that you examine what I have to show 
you. Lights gut, please !" 

He stepped to the rear of the room 
as the lights went out. As his eyes 
grew used to the dimness of the room 
he moved forward and took a vacant 
seat. His hand fumbled in his pocket 
for a second. 

"Now I" he cried suddenly. 

In the momentary silence which fol- 
lowed his cry, two dull metallic clicks 
could be heard, and a quick cry that 
was suddenly strangled as Dr. Bird 
clamped his hand over the mouth of 
the man who sat ' between him and 
Carnes. 

"All right, Casey," called the doctor. 

THE whir of a projection machine 
could be heard and on the screen 
before them leaped a picture of the pay- 
ing teller's cage of the first National 
Bank. Winston's successor was stand- 
ing motionless at the wicket, his lips 
.parted in a smile, but the attention of 
all was riveted °n a figure who moved 



270 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



at the back of the cage. As the picture 
started, the figure was bent over an 
opened suitcase, stuffing into it, bundles 
of bills. He straightened up arid 
reached to the rack for more bills, and 
as he did so he faced the camera, full 
for a moment. He picked up other 
bundles of bills, filled the suitcase, fas- 
tened it in a leisurely manner, opened 
the rear doo'r of the cage and walked 
out. 

"Again, please,!" called Dr. Bird. 
"And stop when he faces us full." ,^ 

The picture was repeated and 
stopped at the point indicated. 

"Lights, please I" cried thf doctor. 

The lights .flashed on and Dr. Bird 
rose to his feefj pulling up after him 
the wilted figure of a middle-aged man. 

"Gentlemen," said the doctor in ring- 
ing tones, "allow me to present to you 
Professor James Kirkwood of the fac- 
ulty of the Richton University, for- 
merly known as*"james Collier of the 
Bureau of Standards, and robber of 
the First National Bank." 

Detective-CaptairfSturtevant jumped 
to his feet and cast a searching glance 
at the captive. 

"He's,. the man all' right," he cried. 
"Hang onjfthim until I get a wafcon 
here I" " 

"Oh, shut up I" said Carnes. "He's 
under federal arrest just now, charged 
with the possession of narcotics. When 
we are through with him, you can have 
him if you want him." 

"How did you get that picture, Doc- 
tor?" cried the cashier. "I watched 
that cage every minute, during the 
morning and I'll swear that man never 
entered and stole that money as .the 
picture shows, unless he managed to 
make himself invisible." 

"XZOU'RE closer to the truth than 
X you suspect, Mr. Rogers," said 
Dr. Bird. "It is not quite a matter of 
invisibility, but something pnetty close 
to it. It is a matter of catalysts." 

"What kind of cats?" asked the cash- 
ier. 1 
. "Not catB, Mr. Rogers, catalysts. 



Catalysts is the name of a chemical re- 
action consisting essentially of a de- 
composition and a new combination 
effected by means of a catalyst which 
acts on the compound, bodies in ques- 
tion, but which goes through the reac- 
tion itself unchanged. There are i 
great many of them which .are used in 
the arts and in manufacturing, and 
while their action is not always clearly 
understood, the results are well lpiown 
and can be banked on. 

"One* of the commonest instances of 
the use of A catalyst is the use of 
sponge platinum in the manufacture of 
sulphuric acid. I will not burden you 
with the details' of the 'contact' proc- 
ess, as it is known, but the combina- 
tion is effected by means of finely di- 
vided .platinum which is neither 
changed, consumed or wasted during 
the process. While there are a number 
of other catalysts known, for instance 
Iron in reactions in which metallic mag- 
nesium is concerned, the commonest 
ate the metals of the platinum group - . 

"Less is known of the action of cata- 
lysts in the organic reactions, but it 
has been the subject of intensive, study 
by Dr. Knolles of the Bureau of Stan- 
dards for several years. His studies of 
the effects of different colored lights, 
tha't is, raj(p of different wave-lengths, 
on the reactions which constitute 
growth in plants have had a great ef- 
fect on pothouse forcing of plants and 
promise to revolutionize the truck gar- 
dening industry. He has speeded up 
the rate of growth to as high as ten 
times the normal rate in 'Borne cases. 

"A few years ago, he and his assis- 
tant, James Collier., turned their atten- 
tion toward discovering a catalyst 
which would do for the metabolic re- 
actions in animal life what his light 
rays did. for plants. What his method 6 
was, I will not disclose for Obvious 
reasons, but suffice it to say that he met 
with great success. He took a puppy 
and by 'treating it with his catalytic 
drugs, made it grow to maturity, pais 
through its entire normal life span, 
and die of old age in six months." 



THE THIEF OF TIME 

v 



271 



UfT^HAT is very interesting,* Doctor, 

X but I fail to ace what bearing it 
has on the robbery.'' 

"Mr. Rogers, how, on a 'dartt day and 
in the absence of a timepiece, would 
you judge the passage of time?" 

"Why, by my stomach, I guess." 

"Exactly. By your metabolic rate. 
You eat a meal, it digests, you expend 
the energy which you have, taken into 
your system, your stomach becomes 
empty and your system demands more 
energi. You are hungry and you judge 
that some five or six hours must hue 
passed since you last ate. Do you^fol- 
low?" ^ 

"Certainly." 

"Let us suppose that by means of 
tome tonic, some catalytic drug, your 
rate of metabolism and also your rate 
of- expenditure of energy has been in- 
creased six fold. 'You would eat a meal 
and in one hour you would be hungry 
again. Having no timepiece, and as- 
suming that you were in a light-proof 
room, you would judge that some five 
hours had passed, would you not?" 

"I expect so." 

"Very well. Now suppose that this 
accelerated rate of digestion and ex- 
penditure of energy continued. You 
would be sleepy in perhaps three hours, 
would sleep about an hour and a quar- 
ter, and would then wake, ready for 
your breakfast. In other words, you 
would have lived through a day in four 
hours." 

"What advantage would there be in 
that?" 

"None, from your standpoint. It 
would, however, increase the rate of 
reproduction gf cattle greatly and 
might be a great boom to agriculture, 
but we will not discuss this phase now. 
Suppose it -were possible- to increase 
your rate or metabolism and expendi- 
ture of energy, in other words, your 
rate of living, not six times, but thirty 
thousand fimes. In such a case you 
would live five minutes in one one- 
hundredth of a second." 

"Naturally, and you would live a 
year in about seventeen and one-half 



minutes, and a normal lifespan of sev- 
enty years in about twenty hours. You 
would be as badly off as any common 
may-fly." 

M A CREED, but suppose that you 
XA. jcould so regulate the dose of 
your catalyst that its effect would last 
for only one one-hundredth of a sec- 
ond. During that short period of time, 
you would be able to do the work that 
would ordinarily take you five minutes. 
In othej- words, you could enter a bank, 
pack a satchel with currency and walk 
out. You would be working in a lei- 
surely manner, yet your actions would 
have been so quick that no human eye 
could have detected them. This is my 
theory of what actually took place. 
For verification, I will turn tp Dr. 
Kirkwood, as he prefers to be known 
now." 

"I don't know how you got that pic- 
ture, but what you have said is about 
right," replied the prisoner. 

"I got that picture by using a speed 
of thirty thousand times the normal 
sixteen exposures per second," replied 
Dr. Bird. "That^figure I got from Dr. 
Knolles, the man who perfected the, 
secret you stole when you left the Bu- 
reau three years ago. You secured only 
part of it and I suppose it took all your 
time since to perfect and complete it. 
You gave yourself away when you ex- 
perimented on young Ladd. I was* a 
track man myself , in my college days 
and when I saw an account of his run-, 
ning, I smelt a. rat, so I came back and 
watched him. As soon as I saw him 
crush and swallow a capsule just as the 
gun was fired, I was suie, and gbt hold 
of him. He was pretty stubborn, but 
he finally told me what name you were 
running under now, and the rest 'was 
easy. *T^vould have got you ,in time 
anywayL but your bravado in telling us 
when yiu would next operate gave me 
the ideal of letting you do it and photo- 
graphing you at work. That is all I 
have to say. ^Captain Sturtevant, you 
can take your prisoner whenever you 
want him." 



272 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



MX RECKONED without you, Dr. service, did you? Remember, your old 

A Bird, but the end hasn't come yet. Bureau records showed you to be am. 

You may send me up for a few years, bidexterous.™ 

but you'll never find that money. I'm "Whaf about Winston's confession?* 

sure of .that." asked Rogers suddenly. 

"Tut, tut, Professor," laughed , "Detective-Captain Sturtevant can 

.Carnes. "Your safety deposit box in explain that to a court when Mr. Win- 

e Commercial National is already ston brings suit against him for false 

led until a court orders' it opened, arrest and brutal treatment," replied;, 

bills you took this morning Were Carnes. 

all nurked, so that is merely additional "A very interesting case, Carnes," re- 

proorS4| we needed it. You surely marked the doctor a few hours later, 

didn't tfrrajt^that such a transparent "It was an enjoyable interlude in the 

device as changing yoUr name from routine of most of the cases on which 

'James Collier' to 'John Collyer' and you consult me, but our play time ii 

signing with your left hand instead over. We'll have Jo get after that 

of your right would fool the secret counterfeiting case to-morrow." 



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Withont precautions againat injurious jff«*J> 
Eaco-Caro given the necessary oasuitanoa ■ «*•■»■ 
bacco while you take it Eu aided hundreds. Qss- 
plcto $6.00 treatment guaranteed to get rtattlttw 
money refunded. Write for booklet, ' 
Eureka Chemical Co., B-26 Columbus, «*> 



IMtasc mention Newsstand Gkol'p— Mln's List, when answering advertisements 




gew, practical, amazing. Home Study Course pre- 
i you quickly to fill .my of (he fascinating Avjalion 



ft 



_ skilled flyer, pay in 
to $100 a week. I tram you to succeed quietly, t 



eitber on the -ground # 



XUV » i 11.1111 j uu iu aubwhu nun»Hi » w 

k of , the thousands of air and ground jobs now 
i, and I help you find your right place in Aviation. 

r*n Help Yon Get Tour Job 

b«?aadr lu Junr tt/tnt inatruittona at (really raducad 

nIH »t any airport ■ - yi>ur :. ■ - . or n«bl bar* In Dtytua, 
Or 7<xj can (lap lolo any tTiaiioo crotuid )ob oilli or bale. 
MrUnca or aJ«anra.1 cducati* not HciHUf. Arlatka>--tba 
fuLul jrruwtnr ."rto.lry U mJUm ral You nak r*nhlr.av^lf 

«uffi3£^&: u si'si! &, ° !!S5, " " 

MAJOR R. I~ ROCKWELL 

The Day ton School o| Aviation 

Daytaa, Ofcte 



1 



Sbptted le ^Arrangement 

Ptafira f*U naturally 
iato playing posit ton. 
Mates it extremely 
eaiy to play rabidly 
co the Boescfaer 




r Trno-Torm Sauopbone is __ _ 
1 wind loitruiaanu to play and 
■ it beautiful. Yoa can learn the 
and in a few weeks bo play 
First 8 lessons fre*, wi™ 
For bo me en t ortainmen t 
->ooJ or for Onbmtrm Dam 
Ml* the Ideal InatroaMnt. 
e allow 6 days* free trial i 

n ply while you play.WriU^SuopboM Catalog. 

r co. 

ELKHART. INDIANA 




■ CM WANTED FOR RAILROADS 



fore— to train for firemen, Brakemcn: 
: . I.j , monthly. l*romot«l u Conductor or 
wages on railroads. Also clerks. ItaUway 
association. Dept. D -30, nroobtjn, New 



MONEYiW 

POULTRYh. 



Sj* "at a real Job— at real par or If > 
EL* ** rt Prontablo btM,ncM of jour own- 
HSt..' "^'w*! Poultrymao it's LntwesUn 
■J»«nu, profitable. Oiir f am out hom*> Ktu<l 
S*"5«s abort cots to Micrem. Write fm 
" fy* "How to luiso fouler for front." 
■! 1 Ml I , Drpi. 415 F. Wufcrno-. U. C 




SPORT OF A\ 
THOUSAND THRILLS 



lj the DopuJar 
"4» Turin 




control — speed 
that leaves the car- 
parades behind— ^light- 
ning response to throttle 
and brakes 

— these are just a few of the thou- 
sand thrills of motorcycling. Ask 
any Harley- Davidson rider — he'll 
tell you of dozens more. And they 
are all yours at low cost, in a 
Harley-Davidson "45"— the won- 
derful Twin at a popular price. 

Let your dealer show you the 1930 fea- 
tures of this motorcycle — try the com- 
fortable, low-swung saddle — get the, 
"feel" of this wonder Twin. Juk about* 
his Pay-As- You-Ride Plan. 

Mail the CouponI 

« riP* lot littrdlure jhounng our full 
-fja**** j0J linj of Single,. Tunnj. and Suit- 
^r Moiotc«I« frieei fongo 

from 92)1 /. o. p. t*aory. 

HARLEY-DrWIIKON 

MARUT-PAVritfON* MOTOR fhOMI'AN'Y 
Dept. N. S. G., Milwaukee, Wis. 

Irttcrcstcd in your motorcycles. Send literature. 

Name _ . — 

AdJrcs? .; 

My igc I* □ 16-19 year*. □ 20-30 years, -O Jl ycais and 

up, Q under 16 years. Check your age group. 



Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 




^How I Licked 
Wretched Old 
Age at 63" 

1 Quit Getting up Night.— Banished Foo?a£i 
Leg Pains . . . Got Rid of Rheumatic Palha 
and Constipation . . . Improved My Health 
Generally j . Found Renewed Strength. 

,t «1. I thought I was through. I blamed old an. but it 
■ occurred to me to actually fljcbt back. I was only half- 
t. getting up nights . . . constipated . ... constantly tormented 
ches erfil pain*. At 02 my rendition became almost jntol- 
le. I bad about given up hope when a doctor, recommended 
- treatment. Tben at C3, it seemed that 1 shook off St) years 
overnight." 

Forty — The Danger Age 

These are the facts, Juit as I learned them. In 65% of all 
men, the vital prostate ciand show* up soon after mil. No pain 
<* experienced, but. as this dist reining condition conl)Ufac.i. sciatica, 
tiackacbe. severe bladder weakness, constipation, ctcjforten develop. 

PROSTATE TROUBLE 

rims of prostata 
iffer HMM nandi- 
piwnjnent Amcnr.in 
it or research. 

li« prostate 
v in many 
nhy to be 
the ace. 

A Netieaal btbtatioa (or Men rest 40 

Its success has been startling, in trovrth 
' This -new lijwicne is rapidly galnins in 

Ion In Rtetl- 

: lopiffill 
pour m 
' rtwulta 
_ie after 
t they have felt 
■a. Now physician* 
try are sr. J 

new hygiene, it In actually a 
t n* drues, medicine or elec- 
ulatns this discovery and tells 
a new book now rot free. In 
t It. Kvery man past forty 
hr«y frank fan*. No co-t or 
Ufca/ this fn 



j are frequently 
trouble. Now tbou»anils 
caps necdle>siyl I 
Scientist alter sevei 
ered a new. safe wi . „ 
2 1 and to norma] bral:h anil -act 
caaea. Thu new hygiene is 1 
called • notable achievement i 



I prominence. The iratitution In Steti- 
has now na<-hed larro proportions. 
•*Voraa and nm hunduibu of letters i 
•-very day. and In many c»«m reported 
jMavj beco.littlf short of amlutng. In ca 
, men bare reported 
— ntm ln-stt di 
. at thoicou 

i as Is the rntnons*) to thl 
. t, natural relaxation. involv 
ric rays whatever. The wicntlM i 
why tnany mm are ■ i at forty li 
Si-pace, Illustrated form. Send 
liquid know the true On- an Inc. of 
obllration is incurred. Bat- act I 

exaavteted. Simply nil In your name below," tear off and mail. 

THE ELECTRp THERMAL COMPANY 

1K26 Morris Ays— j Steuhentllle. Ohio 




If you live West of the Rockies, address Tbe Electro 
Thermal Co.. 303 Van Xuys Building. Dept. 48-C; Los 
Angeles, Calif. In Canada, address The Electro Ther- 
ma) Co., Desk 4$-C M Yunge St., Toronto Can. 



TH£ ELECTRO THE BM A L CO.. 
4*» sjomi Ave., StciiBenvllle. Ohio. 

Name ■■ — ■ — , ,— 

Address , , 



tteinsysm 



G«our- 



SowTo Secure A 
overnmentPositiofl 

Ulift l g..i .1 aHsMlS at.ILM 1. 1 ^fTu Karri — * " 



Why worry about strikes, layoffs, bard 
Ureas? Oct a Government Jobl ' In- 
creased salaries, steady work, travel, 
good pay. Examinations coming. I'll 
help you hecomo a Cu-tom House Clerk, 
Hadway I'ostal Clerk. I'ost omco Clerk. 
City Mail Carrier, Uural fcPfmer— or set 
Into any other Government Job you 
want. I was a Sccretary-Kiaiiiuicr of 
Civil Service Commission for 8 years. 

llaro helped tboi- 

NOW 
My 32-paro book tells 
open— and bow 1 can hell ... 
Write TODAY. AKTIICK It. PAT- 
TKIISON, civil Swu.-i- Kxpert. l'AT- 
TKKPON SCIIOOU 1"=2 Wiincr BuUd- 
lng. Jtochester. ICY. i 



how to Er V' 

POIIIIO* ..I.;.- |(| 

$1 54 



Photos ( 




jaArktal photo irurai>t**d. 

SEND NO MONEY SK^jfifcMBt 

a «*«k joowlll MSStn T one brftutlful UFa-lika 
«l«t«iMBt alt* in '20 in. ftlfr-i. 
I'*r (K*tm»n SSc pin* p»W or ■•nd Si. 00 

w;fh n :«; ^ j^'nt'wVTii StfS'At 

cixl Kii»sahu<l-Uot.Jiii;aiatijra FREtOf Fell 




DC A RAILWAY 

DLTRAFFICINSPECTOi 



EARN UP TO $250 Kl 'X 

oortDBtdM far mo II to HbSM 




Sleep Disturbed! 



t^Jrrluttog lidney t xcretioru frequently disturb jm 
sleep or cause backache, leg pains and make you fl 
tired, achy) depressed and discouraged, why ott*J 
the Cystei 48 Hour Test? No dopes or habit-f 
.-tng drugs. List of pure ingredients in each pie) 
Get Cystei (pronounced Siss-tei) at your i 
store for only 60c llie all of it. See how it < ' 
Money back i f it doesn't satisfy you comple 



Men's L.s 



isty_ 

vcai 



Please 



t, when 



ad. 



ncnts 



Quick 



as opportunity , 
U>eam$l5adny 1 



_ taking orders from your friends 

«fi uaghbora for our" fine tailoring. 
Onto* ante easy when you show our I 
gadl taniple* and smart Btyles. Wm / 
MnrTac How — you don t need to I 
|pn»«gythinfl about tailoring -aim ply 1 
agfeai o ur dlreOiQaJ — we ma ke ft cajy. I 

IB SUIT OFFER , 

lew «fc> to your friend* end get ■ \ 
keed to your order auit. In any style, \ 
J ran. In addl Una to y our cab prof) La. 1 
W Hot, Mb New, style oooven- ' 
ff, e* aenaea lent carrying outfit, 
OVTTfT large all-wool eam- 
■nnoto n^ nr MMry to start *t oace — 



MORE PAY 




PAY ^ fg!^ 

QUAKER FREE OUTFIT 



Earn big money righs from the 
■tart. Let Quaker help you. Won* 
derful fr ee S ample outfit mtm 
ordera everywhere. Hen'iShTrta, 
Ties, Underwear. Hosiery. Un- 
matchabks valuea. Unique aatitrur 
f oaturaa. Ironclad sruarentev. You 
can't fall with Quaker. Writs for 
your Free outfit NOW. 

SHIRT CORPORATION 




FRENCH 

LOVE DROPS 

An enchanting exotic perfume of lrre- 
ifcAlble charm. clinging for tours like 
I m en loath to pan. Just a . few 
dropa ar* enough. Pull size bottle 
08a prepaid or 11.39 C. O. D. plui 
pottage. Direction* with wary order. 
HIKE: 1 full alae botUe IT rou 
order 3 rlala. D'ORO CO. 
Boa 90, .Varich Station. New York 
Dent NSC 2 



JOKE TO BE DEAF 

-mw our pdhon knows that 



oo 



I raatn day ead aajhL Tory atop 
I haul Dowai and rtoatai ears. They 
I era perlestlr eonJonaole. Hoooe 
■ earn these. WrtteDseandlwllltFli 
roa atroa atoryjHnr Igot deaf and 
tew 1 make you near. Address 
SO. P>. WAV. Artificial Car Or» Ce. (tea)) 
„ I Heffwaa Bid a , De troit. Mica. 

-to A Detective 

Secret Investigations 

Etta Big Money. Work home or travel. 
™™ring work. Experience unnecessary. 
KlECTTIE Particulars FREE, Write NOW to 

«U WISHER, 21 90 Broadway. New Y ork 

TOBACCO 



Sf? "T** 3 aa " B oupwra nemeuy to help atop 
Pip*. Chewing or Smut Writsvfor full tre a t m e nt 
bd dope or habit forming drum. Coats pm if 
if not SUPERBA CO. . *-tl. Bartrrwa. Md. 





Strong 

with O 
Ihfise luipro v ea 

Why pay an extnnnnt price for 
strength— here's an opportunity to nt 
all the oiuipuusu you require along 
with an cirrtlent rourne of instructions 
Tor only 13.00. Beallis yoor ambition 
and develop muscles of a Ruper-man. 
Get strong and anuue your friend*. Wo 
■how yoo bow to easily muter feats 
which dow item difficult — or U you 

Kl want physical culture for your 
kllb'i sake, tbl* equipment la Just 
what you need. With this apeelat offer 
you aaro at least I20.no. We furnish a 
ten table- chan erpaoder which is ed- 
ible to flro realnanoa up to 200 
It b made of new lire extra 
strength. Rnrlnar rubber to aa to assure 
long wear and gire the remittance you 
need far real muscle development. Too 
alao ret a pair of patented hand tries 
for drrrloplng. powerful grip and fore- 
arm*. 

We Include wall eirrclalng parts 
which permit you to develop your bark. 

jjjy" j** 1 tSi Mw^jpa^Sf etEiy«. t». Brit 

TUi win mfrm ten rp— < I aad «nJw<« bat 
BMbi'tdMrant. UadditbawwhaaMa 
• nckllr aihui mtm which luwtabai pie- 
barwj nan itmii— ■hovnar m bum is 
way part of rmr body «ha» yoo win qukklr 
0*4 an aflta tfcaaa eawaa^ pad gala WMST*at- 
awl tJ'i»fc<» tnmr Miatr eea. Art bow wblka 
F<ra cm pitlo oaUb it^rfiiaw. It sawta! be 
■Itlahaaa , as ran Uw iwpi . 

HMO HO HOHaT 
All of th« llmnm tfetamd «b thU pwi nil). 
:lod«4 ii IbU ble tp^tel ndortlOB oaTwr. BJ#B 
roar nam* aad udmt ■> dm c ww b«Ibw aad 
nil it Lb m. Wa wjll Md row lam rabU cwwal 
]«t*I«p«t. Oia w%Jl pvta. a pair of band arlpa. 
not Btr BV ud |ba raaru trr MV1 W^T P«j 



CRU6ADCR APPARATUS CO,. 

Deet. 2002. 41 Parker- Am.. Hasleweed, M. S: , 

I accept *your oOit. rtcnif mr e*pryihlnf described In your' | 

adrertuemail by return mall. I will par ponman 15.00 plus ■ 

portage on arrival. It j* tinrtmtood If I am not entirely | 

■aHifled after examination I can return the goods and you ■ 

will refund my unxiey. | 

Noli:— No C 0. D. Order* to Fonlgn Ceunnif* er Qanadm. ■ 



| City. _ Stale. _ | 



Please mcnlipn NewsstanTj Gbditp— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



Win $3.50022 






PtIki from 11800.00 lo 14249.00 each htm bnn woo throuib our unlaw ■drtrtiilac plxn. Id our 
hit, AO old man of CB. out or watt, man o'cT lJOOO.00. A boy. only IS. «an 1900.00. la oert 3 or < 
rnonihi ibouuoJi of dollars will be awarded ta fortunate pertoni who lulto our pulxUj and win oui prliej. 

FIND THE TWIN FLYERS 

W»Uh out 1 Thc»o iwelrr plctaii-i or • faraaiii woman flyer all loot ilLke — nUT — two, and only 
two. ate riacll/ alike. Ftad than t*(n flyer*!' Boina Dictum an different In the collar, helmet, 
aoEsSei, or ill. HeuciLbef. only tao of tbo twe Ire'are nartly alike. Kind them, or.J tend i Lie number i of 



tbo iwln fljcri on a po*i rard or letter t 



poil rard or Idler today. If correct, your anitrer vlll'qualiry rou fa 

•71M.UO DiraiUS OIVEN THIS TIMX 



for ihii opportunity 



chooaea liSTS.OO In «»h or a new Waco airplane, a big automobile, or a new home. A inrcroui prlie 
Uill ANYONE V>T10 ANSWERS TH IS P UZZLE CORI1KCTLY MAY IIECEIVE PRIZES OB CAafJ. 

ADDITIONAL FOA FBOMfTNXSIt *W 

TI* D romp st It p:yi. >'lnd the ml t»ln firm, and I will aend Certificate which will be good 
nd win flm prlia. Imarlne, ■ lint prlae or fUOLOQI 
Kny rpme. wtmi. tm. or Bid In Its* O. 6. A.vfvm at all. «m«0* r— Ii1ira« ot 
w wtmy. » of tat ptKyla vho fra» cp tM» pf»ar ms* gvJaw ta wfa iHhi i wgariar. 
S^SS^ J. D. aMYDOr. Dept. 14, UW.-taaktr 



f-r ffllS.nn If you arr rfnninl 
— • MOHI PU'OLtS TO SOLVE 
i, UllooU. aaJTorur maj<ir 
— Basoaertbani. Band t 




AVIATION 



AT 
HONE 



Uundrrdi of men u« ilmdj training for blf-pey Arie- 
tta lobs through 'Jj. IILnton'a practical home-nudy courao. 
This ihorouih training la ]un the foundation rou nerd 
to enter At Lallan in any tit lie many branches, for the 
owru enm Terms And DcnnlUons, Principle* 1 of Kllcht. 
HUOni. ltepalrlng. Conai ruction, InMrutnenta. Aerology, 
finelnn. lanltton, CertruretJon. Alrnoru: Jriaften free* 
A fe E. After graduation lllnton'a Employment Dejian- 



u to i 



puu rou In touch with rpaj Jobs. or. if you want 
» pilot. 1 Union amnios Ypedal fljunj rates at an 
ted Air Collcataw near your home. Jitnton- trained 




men ere In demand and they are i 

Jna mod. 11 u Bit Free Uooa explains 
sferrthlnf. Send for jour cvpy *t 
— el 

UNO FOA FABB BOOK 



EE 



-WALTER HINT0N. ProeJdont. 316-D 

Aviation Inatrtwls of U. 8. A. 

1118 Ce«o. Aft., Wuhlnften. D. C. 



- I 
I 
I 



<t#*\ often made in one 
r!r€ bymanyafoarsaie&j 

■ WlfliU floaft lb* tww 



cna. Written gwAimntaw tn _ 

a*rJefy or repUcwd. IB etrtaa. eokn. 
rtnawt eUke. All. at krrat prksa*. 



' We offer ear ngenbi ■ ew Fern 

ked ondet oot o\%b. 
n dally. Credit arrnn. I 
- '-"--if or jroa deliver 

;imi 

Oar new elen arlvve row Hat aaant 
h—lerw for Toor^wn nee. I want 
ii In ei I ee I iwial nil— 





3-28 c norteaiiB BIG FUft __ 

DAVC You apparently aee thru nothea. Waal. 
"Wl 9 Bttne. any object. Bee Bona In rkelk 
FHKE Pka. radio picture ninw. takes, plot unci wtaheat 
camera. You'll llio *aai. (1 pkf. with each 29e ordarj 
MARVEL MFG. CO.. D«et. 80. NEW HAVEN, COM 



TRAVEL- for : UNCLE 



S An ' 



RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS 

wan. CABaUERa— POtTOPnCI CLBBAS 
OBMBRAL CLBBKB-CURTOMR IMRPBCTOBB 

$1700 Ob $3400 a Tear for Life 

No "lay-offi" borauao or striae*, poor buMncsui. etc.— rare nay— 
rapid advancement. Many olber V. a. Qvremmcnl Jbta. Cltr 
and couatrr resident* ft and aame chance. Commbo teoM «du- 
ealion uruallr tumebnt- 

STEADY WORK 

1 It before turning the pare) 




I MEN— BOYS ■ 
18 to 4.5 f||| 
IW Oaeai trim Ta be ■H E 
f- n't I n n *1 



COUPON 
I FRANKLIN INSTITUTE. D»L t»7. B«tal»i*j 

bo* ta nt ifc. phiUo. it«w, 
I GUfnr Paul Ckik (119Wo7TH> QGami Clat 
,' □PaMka Cfeil (lliaMni)DCBtNalnN*0 
|| aaijUdcra (UTatijiiKciimiiMJbnMrt 



'Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 




Hare'a an oppor- 
tunity far «?*tt- 
odi to develop 
bis muKlH and 
obtain nut strength by 
□sins ihi n h«*ry ■ icosloned 

rnoancserTE exeh- 

CISER, adjustable from 20 
to 200 lbs. resistance. Complete 
Instructions with each exerciser. 
Get rid or those aches ud pains, IndJresrlon. 
constipation, headaches, rta. Build up your [ ' 
and look Uko a Ml lie-man. 




I STOP WORRYING 

I about Money 




i: £^ffirSii^ r ii5:.^, 



fv UMi NOW. 



HOW SHARP IS YOUR RAZOR? 

Dtf job have trouble (hiving this morning? If your 
mm Hade smncd and pulled you will appreciate this re 
nw t riaw new discovery'. . . . Gold Nugget Strop Drew 
« . , on be used gBtiifacionlst on all itropping de* 
visit , . . put* kxen ait ting edge on any razor, blade. . . . 

ily . . . ruulu assured. Makes you feel like 
you above. Sr postpaid. 
NO'HONE COMPANY 

Ornihi, Nebraska 



1114 CaiafornU St. Omilu, Nebrai 

t PATENTS 

flan mm& In applying for patent*. Don't flak delay In 
a— rm yew lanes. Band sketch or model for instruc- 
■11 au for FREE book, "Oow to Obtain a Patent" 
sjj| laoard of Invention" form. No char re for lnfoma- 
tkss m bow to proceed. Qomnraoiesilonj rtrlotly connden*> 
fat Pnwit, careful, esTacJeni aorrlm. Cltmm A. 
OWai. Heglst£n-d Paieot Attorney. 1§78, Security Bat- . 
■at aad Comm'l Bank Hulldlns (directly across street I 
a— nun Otto) Washington, D. a | 

STOP Tobacco 

■* tan bsliw eta escape the ruumfol effects of tebaoea 
aan fey ■> quit without ™ 



-._>_„ S bat IJ.0O. Cray 

—z" — w ~] refunded If poa do tut ret desired result*. 

SW J kt a BtrssJan preparation, oarrfttlly .ootDpormde*' to over- 
fai *** oandlQco. that willi tube qui tear of tobacco pteuuC. 
Ha vsy- It ■ssaw wltli a money beck guarantee, 

laH-Tobacco League .ag^aa 

G WRITERS/ 

SUBSTANTIAL ADVANCE ROYALTIES 
•re paid on work found acceptable for publica- 
tion. Anyone wishing to write either the words or 
' for tonn may submit work for free ex- 
s - — at ion and advice. Pan experience unnecriury. 
New demand created by "Talking Pictures" 
raDy described in our free book. Write for It 
May. NEWCOMER ASSOCIATES 
723 Earle Building, New York 

CARDS^ 





Urns a New, Easy 
VI ay to Make 

YES— here's a wonderful opportunity te start rigbt 
in making $15 in a day. You can have plenty of 
money to pay your bills, to spend for new clothes, 
furniture, radio, pleasure trips, or whatever you want. 
No more pinching pennies or counting the nickels and 
dimes. No more raying "We can't afford it." .That's 
the biggest mistake any man or woman ever made, Aad 
I'll prove It, 

Van Allen Makes $100 a Week 

Just lend me your name and address and I'll aire' yon some facta 
tnat will open your eye*. I'll sbow you how U c. Van Alien, of 
Illinois, quit a lU't-week lob. took bold of my proposition, and 
madotbrtter ibu 1100 a week) Then I here's Ouster Karoaib. of 
lllDDchCTm. who cleared 120.35 the first Ave been, and Mrs. B. L. 
Hodges, lot New York, who aays sbe dot or falls io make a profit 
of 118 to 120 a day. I ban letters from men. and women every- 
where tbat tell about profits of lid, lis, 120 ud as high as US 
and 130 In a ilnajs eu. 

Start Bight In 

Ton don't need any experience or capital to make bit none* nay 
way. ho coarse of training la necessary. You simply' act as 
my rtcpresenuilre In your locality and look after my hnilnnag 
there. AH you hare to do Is ceil on your friends and my estab- 
lldied customers and take care of their coders for my fast aelllnj 
llnc of Orocerln, Toller Anirlm and other Household Nereealilei. 
I bare t housands of oostomers In erary section of every State. They 
must order from you because I never sell through mores. " 



5 car my DepreaenutlTos made nearly two ■ II lioe> r dollars. When, 
_ set the coupon from you I send lull details by return maTl> 
ou can qulehky be making money fust like I said. 



FREE! 

N«w Ford 



NOT a contest. I offer 
a brand-new car free to 
produrm as an ertra re- 
ward or bonus— In addi- 
tion to their larn cash 
profits. Mail coupon for 
particulars^ 




return mall> 

I will also 

supply you srilh Oroterlce and 
other Household NtoaulUoi at low- 
est, wholesale prices. 

SEND NO MONEY 

ir you want ready cash — a chance 
to make 113 or more a day startles; 
at once — and Groorrlai at whole- 
sale— hut aend me your name and 
address on the coupon. It coats 
you nothing to Investigate. Keep 
your present fob and start In spare 
lima It you want to. Oscar Stuart, 
of W. Vlrslnls. reports Jig profit 
In 2f& hours' spare time. Bo you 
rce there's everythlna to aaln. Sim- 
ply mail the, coupon. I will give 
full detail* of my plan without 
co-t or oblleailon to you. 
I'll rive you the -big 
opportunity you've been 
waltlnr for. So don't 
lose a moment. UaU 
the coupon NOW. 



IEEE 



I ALBERT HILLS, pres.. Aaiorleaii Prodocta Cfc. % 
■ 5441 Honwouth Ave., Clnelnnatl. Ohio. » 
| Head me. without cost or obllnMon. all the fad* about yonr I 

I new proposition that offers a wonderful opportunity to make I 
quick profits of US or more a day and Groceries ai wholoale. | ' 

| Name I 



I I 

| © A. P. Ca tIMnt or Write Plainly * J 



Pleate mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



What's Wrong Wit h This Pictn ttj 

8m II Too Can Find the Mistakes ■"" " ~~ ^— — 

In TMa Picture 



We atO spend over 1167.000.00 Oils year for the porpaf e of ccftdurlliui 
free prl» ofTrri to ad»ertl»e and expand our builneii. ThDuundi of 
rerun are- lolni to receive valuable prtui or nib award* and eompcnu- 
llom Ihla yfir ifrrotih our offera. Ttm >ky li ibe tlmitl Anjcn* living 
lo Iha United Slaui outalde of Chlnfo. eicepl employee! of thli company, 
memben of their famlllei. or our previous aula or flrrt prli* wlnnera. or 
nufflb«n<or itMlr rainllle*, may enter u answer to Ihla ptuxl*. 

67*346 in Prize* Given in 
This One* Offer 

Smi i)lf New e- Cylinder Badass and Other Valuable Prim 

Try your jklll — It emit you. anthlnc. Study tb« picture abown ban, 
tut look carefully. The arilit hai purpoaety mad* many n I Haiti. Can 
von find four or more- of them? These mlilakei can be found In varloui 
obfeeia In the picture— Uuu'a all the blot wo nn five- you. If you Ihlnh 
ftn emn And four or more mlitiket, aonrer it ence Juil mark the mlrtakei 
In pencil on the picture, or iclrnrne whil lh**"' are In ■ letter, or on a poll 
rant On 1 7 four mliiikti are required for a perfect answer. 




a perfec 

Anyone Who Answers This Puzzle Correetly May Reoelve Prizes or Cast) 



■ onderful lulumotillui. 



Addreu youf aniw&r la 0. W. ALDERT0N. AlwIUInj 



kGE NTS - Represent the Carlton line 
1 AvrencosPies! Paying Proposition/ 
... • SAMPLES FREE 



JP^SELL FROM 



Million dollar stockVj^ 



Alrfa. Nrcltwtar aael Uadenrtar 

No Substitutions. 4 Hoar Shipping 
grrvke. Hjjfheat Commluloni 



prrvicv. nianctt Lommiuiom ,-" 1 **\ s v -' r / 
Bsniiin. Profit Shirlng. S/ & Jr / • — 

B«*it Company. / fc> Vo" X / 

•ilCoupon. t /. - s ^ - / 

CARLTON M I LLS"!«> V V° /' 
114 FIFTH AVE. 
NEW YORK. 



(':'. A JAZZ MUSIC MASTER 






LearnHow to BOX 



$2.98 s>mK%'Ks, ta *aur*!iss 

TraMr. DM quia ifcat u-do»J Uigur and *n«*i 
*MdMn>«i •TarrUU** to mIvdUOc t»xln*/ from 
im i ill ii mi«M u> nn* rawaUbls Twanir vaats mala* 
rm a naiikad. naPoeast nlstdboiu Mm, trad, of IW- 
[•■I t !■»* man an taafcina; La Iba rial UaUr . 

Qanlata i— I aa>l h> tu nalliaa Hand B M or 
" * > — irr*-F ■ — * ©.BP. plui anaa! aaataa-a- 

Jlmany DeForaet Bomlna; Com* a e 



Htm Tart cay 





Radium Is Restoriq 
Health to Thousiilt 

No mrdlclnr. droffi or dlctlnff. Jost a Uiat, 
comfortable Inempenslvr Radlo-AclWe Pad. von 
back by dar and over the itomaeh at night 
trial. You can be iurc It U helping 
boy IL Over 160.000 sold on this plan, 
written na that It hrak-d them of Nearills, L 
High Blood PrcMure. Comtlpatlon. Nervous U— ™ 
Heart. Luitfta, LIvlt, Kidney and Bladder trtaaaa, t 
No matter what you have tried, -or what roar onlh 
may be, try Degnen's Radio-Actlve Solar Pal « ar 
rink. Write today for Trial offer and dfeeriptlra Sa> 
ture. Radium Appliance Co., 2833 Bradbury p*llf.|i 
Angclca. Cal. 

• 

T*ll» bow up-AaanbS 
otlian obey Loair ManB 
babiLi. how to iha thai 
m, art on Eht at»n. «cc llatpral 
tman, ninrutltan. uhinia, daaanaaaa 
aiplt. mtf. Loan at tuwia. OrUj ILU. a# 
"llynootia Kyo." • new m 'ftn ■■itran ■ 
V aiamiM or M. (», Jor v*r *l 0. I> . i>lua ina4fai L ttan 
U*d. Hiicalw Pr«i. n Put n M| New Tat p«Tn 



HYPNOTIZE 



Uaauuo llealuif, 




AVIATION 17 "O ¥7 F 
Inlornialiun JT J\ Ju I- 



SmO at year aaaia aaf aaaran far fall laff 

Avtallon and Alrataia aatlaeam, Flad cat 

oaaorlanltlH aow aata and bow we prapar* yaa 
•ava tlaia. to auallfy. Our now book r 
mitmtmmm Imlmmtry ej M h.) few 

, AMERICAN aXHOOL OF AVI ATI (H 
P«°>- ■ , 3601 Mlehlosn Avo. 




Chnrmlae; — Captlwatlaia — lereeli 

DE8IR D', 



Tals aotLo parfumo foot att waa* jt jj 
bamrt llho L'upld's airowt. Ua ownfj 
mVuio aroma thrllla and diUshtt yaaaaa 

oid. Triple atranrb f»0 aba rtal 
prspaid or 11.31 C. O. D. pfea 
on an a* DlrooUana fraa. Oaa lattfe 
If you order three vials. lUOHpi 
Bos II. V trick Bis,, hew TosX 
Dept. NHO-2. 



Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 



yntqoodPayinq Business 

We start you in the shoe and 
hosiery business. Inexperienced 
workers earn Big Money yearly. 
Direct-to-VVearer plan. Just show 
Tinners Famous Line of Footwear. 

We tell how ami where lo rill. lVifeU 
It through Patented System. Collect your 
Hy dally We furnish JtO.OO Sample Out- 
fit of RCtual shoes ami hosiery SC styles 

Send* for free book "Gelline Ahead" 
fall Mrticul.irs. No obligation 
_ TANNEKS SHOE CO. 
' eos C Street, Boston, Mass. 



l'lay the Hawaiian Guitar 
like tne Hawaiiaiis/ 



. opvd In playing this faaelnatlriaj Inatro* 

0« uUt« Hawaiian inatrurtoru teach 'you lo 
ttfwqakkJr. PkcUirra ahow how. tttri 



j«k*»jBaaTMoer ' I«T iMitat 

iHjajM tka to** Kim If laudon't !•«• 

a\WAHAH OUITAh, C err; 



attWAHAI 

I VMtT HAWAIIAN CONSI 
I SB Haw, wa o*»a H h BM«. Pift 

I — , M— rvl- af— ow Wat 



Id BM*. PHt. 3« 




SECLIFF.SHIRTSI 



///V/X< SAac/i/f/iomy 



IhwIh («•■'■ Shirts 

1ms, Unmrwasr brings yoa Mfl csah 



._ _._ ._ On* Y«sr Guarmnbao. 
Monbatituttou. Frso silk Initials, 
afdnaehulvs Rassellff features m- 
Mash leadership. Writs for your 
FRO Outfit N0W1 " 

uimirr tun mi) 

1»7 Iraadway, N. V. 



rouK 

OWN 
■HIRTS 
and 

TIES 



Oui/iQr 



GOV'T, POSITIONS 

35 TO 75 WEEKLY 



) Mr. Hit) Hot* 

P. 0. Laborer ' 
)E.r D. Carrier 
) Bpaelal Aaenl 
( limit liat or) 

iciiy Mill run «t 
Meal ln«r*<Jor 
P. 0. Clef* 
riu riff* 
t o«Dtni Clark 

I Matron 



( ) fllmft-Tytflil 

1) Immigrant Ioipector I 
) Heamitreai 1 

!) Autllior ! 
) HLeno-R^-rr-tirr I 
> t*. B. Tinnier Patrol I 
) Chauffeur -Carrier I 
> Witrhtaan 1 
) HMiini Laborer 
. ) Po* I milter I 
( > Tjpln 



■VM "1," hluln 

u£ erNT rmia. 



iftFREE! 

;Jp Body Chart 



you will mail the coupon below, this 
Anatomical and Physiological Chart will 
be mailed Lo you wiihout one cent of ex* 
pen sc. It shows the local ion of the Or- 
gans. Bones of the Body, Muscle* of the 
Body, Head and Vertebra Column and 
tells you how the nerves radiate from 
your spinal cord to all organs of the body. 
This chart abuuid be in every home. 

Where Is That 
PAIN? 



J It mar be In tba mack, back. Llpa. itnmartj. 
Uvar. lags or arm*. Wherever It la, lb* chart 
JvlH halp to ahow v " 
lof ronr allrnaat. 
Ifeflp T 

■Hunan 

■people bad 
|©7*ei 



r butane*, tfcla chart will 
nntfomi oppaodUt palna, 
might bars boon eared If 
a tba location and ebaractav 
' ra c e r e ad pro) 



Stop fh&rMm 

By RtUmoing iht Com with 

Violet Ray — Vibration 
Ozone - Medical Electricity 

Thm Fomr Gnat—I Carmtism Pawn CeuwreCssT *y 7* to 

Great New Invention! 

Eleo HeaJUi Generators st lass 

■astir for youl II you tut 
i lieaJUi— greater power Xo «b- 
Uie p lew urn 



been prepsrHl. It wlU 6s s T 

tou wltfioul ease H Mil : 
ov EIoo HesJUi Osnsrsun ■ 




Bontluaauwi o. .... 

Hcra'i Whtl Bco Umii S17— 



St? 



n 



Ek'L-Irit. Hv.Ulli 



fUctrt* liiM In kaM m tuir o«a n-ilt* po»tr ** laiUil (0 wli aw raaii 
■Baa llauib U«ui>i^l ui D*>J(ir*lr I*' oalr ImipmbmU 
vKlib tu f It* jou ia om c.lfii |-J^*iL-li r . Vi lit K« J — • 
Vihrallaa ««d fjimir— lb* fu-.r irni«i (uniiri Kail, 
SuJ lb* toupoa talo*. 0«l Uf rrvaltouk NOWI 

MAIL COUPON 
for FREE BOOK 

Do ruiS put this paper down without WDdlnjr 
tliocviipoD. 0°a'l hood as you are with pales 
and w!.u aim cm no life and energy. You owe 

LUj i',:mU Is Ut a bMlar run or »)nni Tou »•»• put 
n (a tit. of oat. lu*t la drw Ihieujk ll- Bo do not 

r»t uixl.ir tlir uin rem r»ur r<»M on Iba 

»<rar^-i h*r*. Tut ■ ill t>Hiii 1 ho ■baU iloj of U*n mU 
■*« lar.nMUtnt. Ua ll lod»»— now. 

Unditrom A Co. fJ^X 1 

2112 la^isas Av«a«S Dest. IB -S3 

rira 1 * sr ;id me your free book, "Health— Power— Beauty" and 
lull iojoroaUop of youn^o-da? I roe Trial Oiler. 




Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



Wtfo Wants an Auto FREE? 

STUD E BARER— BUICK— NASH! To ur c hoUtf 
OR 92000.00 CASH 

Tfaoffanda of doOara La new anion tad and Erfan will paBtiwlr fa* cm 
free to MdrvtiM and make new frkada far ray fcm. Qma of ^hnWhahw or 
Buick far Nath new Vdoor aBdan deUvcnd fate, or O0D00D caafa. Abo Olds- 
™»*mu Pootiac. Chavrolet, Forda^ dianaood a. other Ana paaea and eaah will be 
grvwa free. No probleraa to do. No fine writing .equated. No wpnla to 
make. No flfuraa to add. Bank fwrantnaa all praam. 

Pick Your Lucky Start 

AJIthatrtara ta Ihtditb araouetrj alflta tutpt «u. Tbat star la dlffnrt to aB 
oftaara and It au b> a lock? itar for pw, Caa ra pWk tt eat? If job au. nam m 
mf arant atsr ud and tha cb-cla km « onao akma- w hh i wr aaaa* aad aAtttaaa . A 
" sat apravr w atari r<n oa tha war t» win tha |tm( 000.0 fraa prka. 

BE PROMPT— WIN 9650.00 EXTRA 



... „,. , , ami m obavation of aajkb 

nvardfar awTtadjI BEND NO HONEY. Aaawar AT OMGE. 
Ail ill a— GEO. WILSON, DEPT. 27. AUGUSTA. MAI 



V 




RUPTURE IS 
NOT A TEAR 

Tour phrsletan wtjl tell you that harnla <rupiur*> U a musculu 
fnluai In lb« ajtdninlaal wall.— Do not tw K»ll*flod wllb marelr 
btaclnf tbe-ae aoafcrntvt man- Irs. wllh your condition probably 
growing woria otary dart — Sirika ai the real cauao of tha iroubje. 
and 



Sba weakened moaclca rwro their nnrtgtb and. ebuihcltr. 
and— 

The unslabilj, unnatural protruiian dlaappanja. and — 

You r«mw your vim. tin* aod vitality.— rour atrraflh and 

merry,— and jou look anil fori Mtar In c*err way/— and jour 

trbrodi notico I lie difference.— 

una- 

You'll know jour rupture U lone, and 

You'll kaow whj for almost a iiuarter of a eoalurr miroarouj 
>mn siatrmmn report rom plate raoomr and flood am 
from uncDOifurtabla mccnantcal support*, wllnou dalar from, 
work. 

SEND NO MONEY 

A Tort nf tha arluUAo ael/-lr&aUnant maauoned In roc poo 
below U now araJlabla to you, wbathar nn aro rouni or eld. 
man or woman. It ooau jwj nothlna to mafca this low — Vot 
four own auod maU lbs coupon NOW— TODAY. 



FREE TEST COUPON 

PUai* Labonlorloa, 692 Sluart, Bldaj., St. Louia, Mo. 

Send id* « Vn* 10-dar lest r-upplj of Lba remedial factor 
l'lai*o and *K-p»ae lUiuuaUMl book on Ilupture; no charga 
for lb)* now or later. 



Namo 
Addroii . 



JNBW iND SIMPLft D1SCOVKBY 

CLEARS-THE-SKIN 

Wa gran II to too FRBB.-SBND NO MONET. 
Write lodoT lor PROOF and/lull deulli ol oar liberal 
prepaid FULL SIZE TRIAL VACKAUR. 
aUARAPTRBD FOB AliL SKIN TROUBLES 
Uuitk.iv coda Pimples. Blacbbeade, Whiteheada. Cokrca 
Pores. Wriobles, OUr'Sblot Sklo. freckles. Cbronle 
Bcrenia. Stubborn Psoriasis. Scales. Croila. Poslulca 
Barbers Itch. 1 tenia* Sklo. Scabblra, aolteoi aod wblleoa 
a)M akin. Jut a*. J ae roar aoaao end aealroaa. 
. aHOBB a CU, 7SI B. IZaJ St.. Sail. 77. Chica*. 



HAyE YOU READ! 

"ONE WOMAN'S WAR" 

B> Hahaa Reraold. Mofau 

"BROADWAY'S CHILDREN" 

By Arbtnsd Abdullah aad Faith BaUhHe 

"THE LOST DREAM" 

By Heetor Haa-lon 

"THE LIFE HE STOLB" 

By Rar Vl.aar. 

"FOOLISH FIRE" 

Br Viral al* Swala 

"LIFE'S COMEBACKS" 

By Jaa Crwaa 

"THE WHIRL OF YOUTH" 

Br E.alra Ca_pb.il 

"FLAME OF FIRE WEED" 

Bj Jaaaei Fnach Dorranea 

"A PRAIRIE PRINCESS" 

By Frank C. RotMnaaa 
Thoaa can ft tat a aiovala, ■ eaeh oaa a alary af aaaai 
»l fi.1 fiiaa tit, aiw aow IfraiBf oEarod to jaa ai Ai aaatfJ 

priea of 

25 cents each 
or five for $1.00, postpaid 
THE READERS' GUILDf 

BO LAFAYETTE STREET, 12 in FLOOA, 
NEW YOU CITY 




ftPrfbi 




■■NO MO MOMBTI 

All Ma I I ' I Maalililll ill wt\\ 
aid r i ln li fc a< \ w»mi ai— Vwt-r 

iOm la Ml alai. Oa «v 4|n*H»* ^^•bbaKaW a9 

aataraatiorMl TwaorKar Bac h. GiCifeS*_ 

WKfS MaTCHH 

TO ANY SUIT-ffJ i 

Doarr nrfaao mm tfm, 

OLD Bun. Waar tba coat aad. e. 

BtaffiiBavpysKnRb^ 

~w* ia.009 MOm to aataa tromm caa , 



Please mention Newsstand Qroup— Men's List, when answering advertisement! 



QUIT 
TOBACCO 

rSaTtry to b» n i.h unaided KA 
^bdotoba^ofcaaupon ><^.AOR 
X> U* thou**ndj of invtUr- ^H 
ZTtataMO n«n that baT» 
tt au J toqui t with too ud o 

KEELEY 




bletfaeMpf--- 
try to unaided 1 

-old tobacco baa upon you. J 
tb«taouwndl of invttcr-^ 
~m tobW'-O a«n thmt hlTO ' w^—m 

E B- jtta*ajtoa,uitwiththoaldof thaKoeloy Treatment. I 

~ Treatment For 

TobaccoHabit \ 
Successful For 
Over 50 Year* 
0*kIfb»nUb«»llcr*rinff for tob««n. Write totUjr | 
Em* Book tailing h.iw t^quickiy <■ ymir .self from | 
tnttebaeeo habit and our Money Hack Cua/antco. 

THE KEELEY INSTITUTE 
twit. E-211 PwlaVht. Illi nois I 



I 

VKr ml ■•Iticc thli aomblaad tin*. 
VBtH tha beat U UK n 

■ 1 

| 



,lUfL-d On jijilt ctvauu- 



TIES6 SHIRTS PAY BIG 



MAKE STEADY MONEY 

Pablle S«r*tc<. . 



SvtandiJ HfU» A»a. StT 



PUBLIC SEHVICI MILLS. Inc. 

517-J Thirtieth Str««t. North Oor K .n, N. t. 

p..^.- Offic*. 110 LKomIm m .. 1, . I ■-.'.».-. .. Caaadia 



MONEY FOR YOU 



i* ipare time at home making display caids 
Light, pleasant work. No c&nvunnf. We 
i— tract you and supply you with work 
Writ* to-day for full particulars. 

Tb* MENHENITT COMPANY Limited 
Mi Dominion BIdg. .Toronto, Can. - 



wrrt 



DIRECT FHOM feOVIELAKD 



UTY P0TCHOLOQT 




' LOVE DROPS 

piauryu~ 

A N.w Cr- 



8KCUTT EXTRACT 



taaafal *laoa for wUnJO* u>d hoi 

WoaiCo., Dept. N-15 



THR1UINC LOVE LETTER 5^ 



B«i 1250. rWrrwooi Utf. 




itac-J* and C. P, A. 'a aara tt.ono to (10.000 a raar. 

i*n«4U>ra Oolr *.000 CarttM Public Aecoaot- 
rum. Wi train rou ttwrolf at horn* in apua Una 



I - I Stataa. Wa irmin rod t: I i 

* *.**," -*■ aiafciaaUuna er tnntn »fe*vuoUo* [maH.ooa. I*ra>l«u 

4i > Wa>llB« iwtttfft of th» Am.ri.-an lintUnu t>f A rrfunUota. 
■ite.l 0tt r,,-l wk . ■ Accouniaoer.Uia ProfaaaloD that Pare " 



"Mount Birds 



iM Horn* by Malt to meant Bird* 



Proa) Book— ^ 




Dnwsi lean— talj, 14 OaW 
Toau ltd a Drainer Table-All it ' 
to mj U«ae Trauiii Cam 

EMPLOYMENT 

In Thtjc and Other Great Industries 

Automobile -ElectridtT— Motor Bu«— Aviation— Build- 
ing Co ii i true do Q. 

There are jobs for Draftsmen in all ol these industriet 
and in hundreds of others. 
Aviation is expanding to enormous proportions. 
Electricity is getting bigRer every day. Motor Bus 
building is becoming a leading world industry. 
Building of stores, homes, factories and office buildings 
is going on all the time. No structure can be erected 
without plans drawn by a draftsman. No machinery 
can be built without plans drawn by a draftsman. 
I train you at home, in Drafting. Keep the job you have 
now while learning. 

Earn As Yon Learn 

I tell you bow to start earning extra money ■ few weeks 
after beginning my training. 

I will train you in drafting right where you are in your 
spare time. I have trained men who are making C.500.00 
to $9,000.00 a year. Get started now toward a better posi- 
tion, paying a good v straight salary, the year around. 
Comfortable aurrounBings. Inside work. 

Employment Service 

After training you I help you to get a job without charg- 
ing you a cent for this service. Employers of Draftsmen 
come to me for men. Employers know they are not 
taking chances on men trained by me. 

No Experience Necessary 

You do not need to be a college man nor high school 
graduate to learn by this method. No previous expe- 
rience necessary. I make a po3itive money back guar- 
antee with you before I begin to train you. 
If you are now earning less than 

*70? a WEEK 

' Write For My FREE 
"Pay.Raising Plan" 

Mall thta eoapon at once. Got "Mr Pav-fUtotng 
Flan". It certainly potnta the war to auecf aa. You 
owe It to yooraclf to aend for thla book, rind oat 
hot* 1 help too. And blgopportanitlea In practically 
all big fniluatrlea. The book will eotoo to juu peat 
/ from you paid and FKEE. Hall too ccopoa for It todaj. 




•Engineer Dobe< 



t«ft Lawrence Ave, Dlv.lS-tX 



Cfcloago 

■ Send me Preo of all coat. "My Pay-Ralalng Plan". Alao plan 
I to earn money whi:a Irarnfnt: to bo a dratutnao and proof of 
| big money paying poaibuna in great loduatrloa. 

I 

■ AW Ant 

■ 

| Addrtf : 



Pert OSiee Stats... 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



Gear-Tone 

Clears (be Skin 

Clear- Tone is a penetrating, purifying lotion* 
used at night with astounding racdbss to clear the 
skin of pimples, blotches, black-heads and other 
annoying, unsightly skin irritations due to ez- 
tsraal causes. More than one-half million per- 
sons have cleared their skins with Clear-Tone in 
the last 12 yean. "Complexion Tragedies with 
Happy Endings", filled with facts supplied by 
Clear-Tone users sent Free on request. Clear- 
Tone can be had at your druggist — or direct 
from us. G1VENS CHEMICAL CO., 2557 
Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo. 



An opportunity to make $12 a day 
from the start, selling famous 
I Pioneer taUored-to-measure, 

] oil -wool suimat $25. Comnus- 
Mtt paid iraMvance. Csaaas 
r as cssBW at aa cast. 

[liking Dig* Outfit of over, 
100 large Snatches furnished 
free— other equally remarkable values 
I at 930 and $35. We Irani the Inexperi- 
enced. Men willing to work for success 
will write for this big money -making 
opportunity, today. 

PIOWKCX TAIUNHNa CO. 
ssssj Tsa u ap atay pjgC rjJRCjscaaa 



Ruptured? 



tto Comfortable- 
Three million of these comfortable 
sanitary appliances sold. No ob- 
noxious springs or pads. Automatic 
Air Cushion gently assists nature in 
drawing together the broken parts. 
Durable. Cheap. Senl on 10-day trial 
to prove Us worth. Beware ol imitation*. Every appli- 
ance made lo individual measurements, and »ent direct 
from Marshall. Full information and itupturc booklet 
■eat free in plain, sealed 'cut elope. Write for all the 
lull today. 

tffUiUC CH, 173-1 Start* Itrttt. Hankall. Hi(L 





ORRECT 
Your NOSE 



Tliiianiili nan nsad\in* Anita Nan Adhutar 
to Unptvre their ■ppearsnca. SbiM* Bean and 
eartUare of the non ■afely. nalnlsuly. while 
yoa tlaep. Itsultj ars JutiEif . Doctors ep- 
. Uonar back gatraotw. Gold atadal 
_ WrU» for M-Dty TRIAL OFFER and 
FREE BOOKLET. 
IMIirUia. 34S aama aWaalaa, ttt iti. SL A, 




sHEfi,.. 

MMKHoMthlt 20 



Ever Get Nervous 
When You're 
Reading? 

^You might see a doctor, 

—But if you are a girl, 
arid wise, 1 

— You'll try reading 

MISS 1930 

instead 

^ITS A TONIC 

•—A Chance To See your 
picture in a magazhm 

—Real laughs. 

i 

— Choosing a Career 
—The Fate.oF Your Nans 
—Youthful Sty|es 
< — And the Best Fiction many 

■ 

MAGAZINE FOR 
THE MODERN GIRL 

P MISS 1930 

80 Lafayette Street, New York CIlT 

2Sc. AT YOUR NEWSDEALER 
SUBSCRIPTION $3.00 PER YEA! 



Please mention NeWsstanu Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 





.„ THOUSANDS OF MEN ' 

obacco Habit 
Banished! 

Let Us Help YOU 



Stop craving tobacco in any form. To- 
bacco Redeemer in most cases relieve* 
alleminirforitlnafcwdays'lime. Don't 
try to quit the tobaccohabitunaidef). It's 
often* loainft fight njrainat heavy odd 3, nr. J 
Buylncanadiatreflsmsiihock to the nervous 
systrm. Lot Tobacco Redeemer help -tho 
ktbittoquityou. TobaccouserBUBuallycan 
depend upon thia help by simply using 
lebaceo Redeemer according" <o simple di- 
rections. It Jepleamint touse.Bctaquickbr, 
and if thoroughly reliable. 

Not a Substitute 

Tobacco Redeemer contains no hnblt-form- 
ins; drugs of any kind. It la In no senae a 
■abetitu to for tobacco. After finishing* tho 
treatment, there should be no desire to use 
tobacco agm n or to continue the use of the 
remedy. In case the treatment Is not per- 
fectly satisfactory, we will gladly refund 
any money paid. ItniakesnotapartJcleof 
difference, how long tobacco has been used, 
or in whitforra— whether ltlscljrars, cigar- 
*ttea,pir>r,plug,finecutorsnurT. Inmost 
casea Tobacco Redeemer removes al t cravirur 
for tobacco in any form In a very few days. 
And remember, it la ottered! with a poeitivo 
a»»M7-back guarantee. Write today for our freo . 
booklet ahowlng the Injurious affect of tobacco 
■men the human eyi-trm nntj ronrtneing evldenea 
uStOBACC'O ItKDKKMKKdocaquiciiyraUsvs I 
tbe erartng for tobacco to moat cases. 

NEWELL PHARMACAL COMPANY 
Dept. 793 CUytea Statisa SL lank. Me. 



10 Inches Off 
Waistline In 
35 Days*^ 



■I reduced from 48 inches to 38 
laches in 35 days/' says R. E. 
Johnson, of Akron, O., "just by 
wiring a Director Belt. Stom- 

6 bow firm, doesn't sag and I 
fine" ^ 
1 «ue Director Belt gets at the 
cau.'f of fat and quickly 

it by its gentle, kneading, 
■ssnsitsj action en tl.e abdo- 

&wbieh ram^s the fat to bs 
ted and HMStC Thou- 
-"bhareproved itt.n'1 distort 
rslwayi 

ercises 

t> Try Uus^^y^ywl 

t us prove our claims. 
I] lend a Director for trial. 



& WARNER 

St., Chicago. IIU 




M & Warner, Dept. C-7), 332 3. USalle. Chicago 
rtlsmen: Without com or obll»tlon on my part 
l Mod me deia;ls of jour trial offer. 



$1,000 

Reward! 

In a dirty, forelorn shack by the river's edge they 
found the mutilated body of Genevieve Martin. Her 
pretty. face was swollen and distorted. Marks on the 
slender thrnat showed that she been brutally choked 
to death. Who had committed this ghastly crime? 
Crimes like this are being; solved everyday by Finger Print 
Expert!. We read in thu paperi of thrir exploit*, bear of the 
myttrrfee they aolre, the rewards tbey win. Finger friot 
Experts are tne heroes of the hour. 

More Trained Men Needed 

The demand for trained men by governments, states, 
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opportunity for YOUTCan you imagine a more fasci- 
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the expert. Many experts earn regularly from *3,G0Q 
to $10,000 per year. V 

Learn At Home In Spare Time 

Now, through this amazing new, simple course, you 
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at home in you spare time. Any man with common 
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FREE— The Confidential Re- 
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IF YOU ACT QUICK-Ws will eend you free and with do 
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obligation. Mall coupon NOW— while this offer lutel 

Institute of Applied Sciente 

Dept. 15-63 1920 Saanyslde Avenac, Chicago 



Please mention Newsstand Grol'p — Mi s'- 



DMIHtffV OF APPLIED SCIENCE,, - M 
Dept. 18-8 J 1920S«JiByslde Avenoe.CWcaajO.Dl. 

Gentlemen: Without mot obligation whatever, send mo roor 
new, fully Illustrated. FRKK book on Finger Prints and the 
free ropy of tl.e Lou tide at i»| Hcporta of Operator No. 38 made 

to Hia CW. 

"•~ ) 

Addrtt* . , . 

A 

- v ~A0» - 

I. ist, when answc.ing advertisements 



Muscles 5* apiece/ 



W. 
shoulders? Thenourricb friends with money to buy them, sure would be socking us all owrtfc 



OULDNT it^be great if we could buy muscles by the bag- 
hen our rich frieflds with 
don't come that easy, fellows 
lazy fellow never can 
'o#re lazy'and 
ad- better quit 
This talk was never meant for. 
A 



lots. But th 
the reason why tl 
hope to be strong. So if y< 
don't want to work-r-you h; 
right here " 
you. 



take them home and paste fhemoaom 
sure would be socking us all overt). 
If you want muscle you have to work for it'Tatfj 



I WANT LIVE ONES 

I've been making big men out. of little ones 
•for over fifteen years. I've made pretty near 
as many strong men as > Heiu* has made 
pickles. My system never fails. That's 
why I guarjuUcc my works to do the trick. 
That's why tlies gave me the name of "The 
Muscle Builder." 

I have the surest bet that you ever heard 
of. Eugcn Sandow Himself said that my 
system is the shortest and surest that Amer- 
ica ever had to offers 

Follow me closely now and I'll tell you a 
few things I'm going to do for you. 

HERE'S WHAT 1 GUARANTEE 

In just 30 days I'm going to increase your arm 
one full inch. Yes, and add two inches to your 
chest in the same length of time. But that's noth- 
ing. I've only started; get this — I'm going to put 
knobs of muscles on your shoulders like' baseballs. 
I'm going to deepen your chest so that you will 
double your lung capacity. Each breath y»u take 
will flood every crevice of your pulmonary cavity 
with oxygen. This will load your blood with red 
corpuscles, shooting life and vitality throughout 
>GW entire system. I'm going to give you arras 
aed legs like pillars. I'm going to work on every 
inner muscle as well, toning up your liver, your 
heart, etc. You'll have a -snap to your step and a 
flash to your eye. You'll feel the real pep shoot- 1 
ing up and down your old backbone. You'll 
stretch out your big brawny arms, and crave for a 
chance to crush everything before you. You'll 
just bubble over with vim and animation. 

.Sounds pretty good, what? : You can bet your 
old ukulele it's good. If*s wonderful. And don't 
forget, fellow — I'm not just promising all this— I 
guarantee It. Well, let's get busy, I want action 
— So do you. 




, EARLE LIEDERMAN, The Muscle Bailee? . 

Author of "Mtuete Building." "Science of WratUng mi * 
JW "Secret* of Strength," "HereTa Health, "EnamTmCm. 




pEARI.K LIEDERMAN , 1 

Dr|.i. 1702, 305 Broadw« r , New York CUy 

, Dear Sir:— Please send me without any obli. 
I cation on my part whatever, a copy of youi 

I latest book "Muscular Development.' 1 <PIeas< 
wry or print plainly.) 



Name Age., 



JjCity. 



. Slate.. 



It contains fortj-eight full-page photograph*, o! ■9***' 
some of the many prize-winning pupils I have trained. Seat 
of these came to me as pitiful weaklings, imploring m to 
help them; Look them over now, and yon wfll mtrwi * 
their present physiques. This book will prove an imaetaiaW 
a real inspiration to you. It will thrill yon throejh »■ 
through. This will not obligate you at all, but far 
of your future health and happiness, do not pot it 0& W 
today — rigBt now, before you turn this page. ' I. 

EARLE LIEDERMAN 

DEPT. 1702 305 BROADWAY, H. T. CffT 



Please mention Newsstanp Group— Men'* List when answering advertiscmeots 



change to 

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in kindness to your 

THROAT 

THE SMOKE SCREEN THAT "COLD" WEATHER IS 

KEEPS OUT THROAT-SCRATCH 

OLD GOLD WEATHER 




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■ettsrtobeoeos make them smoother and better . . . with "riot a cough In a carlood" 



WHEN CRITICAL SMOKERS 
GET TOGETHER 



Their experience recognizes that 
Camel is indeed "a better 
cigarette" : 

Better in its quality of mel- 
low, fragrant tobacco — 
Better in the mildness and 
satisfying taste of the Camel 
blend — 

When they learn the difference 
they flock to Camels. 



© 1930, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco 
Company, Winston - Salem, N, C. 



CAMEL 



CIGA RETTES